Res Extra Commercium and the Barriers Faced When Seeking the Repatriation and Return of Potent Cultural Objects: A Transsystemic Critical Post-Colonial Approach
(2016) 4:1 American Indian Law Journal 297.
93 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2016 Last revised: 21 Apr 2017
Date Written: March 28, 2016
The repatriation and return of objects of cultural value are often linked to decolonization projects and efforts to repair past wrongs suffered as a result of colonialism. Yet significant barriers hinder these efforts. These barriers primarily take the shape of time limitations, diverging conceptions of property and ownership, the high costs involved, and the domestic export and cultural heritage laws of both the source country and the destination country. I argue that these barriers are relics of colonialism that replicate and perpetuate the continued imposition of Eurocentric and Western legal notions and values on subaltern source countries and source indigenous groups. In order to truly move beyond the remaining relics of colonialism into a context where the culture and values of all groups are accorded equal respect, it is important that these barriers be removed.
Keywords: Cultural heritage, Property law, Indigenous law
JEL Classification: K11. K33, K20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation