amanda nettlebeck on indigenous dispossession in the national museum


Amanda Nettelbeck, ‘Remembering indigenous dispossession in the national museum: The National Museum of Australia and the Canadian Museum of Civilization’, Time & Society 21, 1 (2012).

Recent decades have seen the escalation of debate across western democracies that were once sites of the British Empire about how to remember the history of colonialism. This essay will consider how these debates have manifested in relation to the history of indigenous dispossession and its remembrance in Australia and Canada, which not only share many parallels in their stories of settlement but also in their recent efforts to come to terms with historical injustices against indigenous peoples. In examining how these debates have taken shape in the representation of national history in Australia’s and Canada’s recently established national museums, this essay will question the degree to which public historical consciousness in these former settler societies demonstrates a political imperative to remember historical injustices on the one hand, and on the other hand an enduring desire to forget them in favour of a more unifying story of the nation.

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