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Collections and Objections: Aboriginal Material Culture in Southern Ontario
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Collections and Objections: Aboriginal Material Culture in Southern Ontario (Paperback)

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Synopsis

North America's museums are treasured for their collections of Aboriginal ethnographic and archaeological objects. Yet stories of how these artifacts were acquired often reveal unethical acts and troubling chains of possession, as well as unexpected instances of collaboration. For instance, archaeological excavation of Aboriginal graves was so prevalent in the late-eighteenth century that the government of Upper Canada legislated against it, although this did little to stop the practice. Many objects were collected by non-Native outsiders to preserve cultures perceived to be nearing extinction, while other objects were donated or sold by the same Native communities that later demanded their return. Some Native people collected for museums and even created their own.

Michelle A. Hamilton is assistant professor and director of public history at the University of Western Ontario.

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