Restoring the Chain of Memory - T.G.H. Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge - James L. Cox

Restoring the Chain of Memory - T.G.H. Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge - James L. Cox

‘One Hour Before Sunset’: The Loss of Indigenous Religious Knowledge

Restoring the Chain of Memory - T.G.H. Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge - James L. Cox

James L. Cox [+-]
University of Edinburgh and Western Sydney University
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James L. Cox is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, University of Edinburgh,and Adjunct Professor in the Religion and Society Research Cluster, Western Sydney University. He has particular interests in the study of Indigenous Religions, with emphases on Africa, the Arctic and Australia and in methodologies in the academic study of religions.

Description

This chapter considers the judgement of T.G.H. Strehlow that the transmission of religious knowledge and with it the collective memory, had been so disrupted among the Arrernte people that, for all practical purposes, such knowledge had been irrevocably forgotten, or as he put it, disappeared into ‘oblivion’. The concerted efforts by white settlers, Government agents and missionary organisations to replace Indigenous culture with the values and practices of the colonising culture provided one of Strehlow’s chief motivations to preserve records of the rituals, ceremonies, stories, social obligations and genealogies as he found them when he began conducting research in Central Australia in 1932. He argued that the memory of ancient traditions was preserved exclusively in his notes, recordings, photographs, films and other documentation he had collected. The concluding section of the chapter asks if Strehlow was right in his conclusion and examines contrary evidence relevant for the repatriation of knowledge movement currently being implemented at the Strehlow Research Centre in Alice Springs.

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Citation

Cox, James. ‘One Hour Before Sunset’: The Loss of Indigenous Religious Knowledge. Restoring the Chain of Memory - T.G.H. Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 108-128 Mar 2018. ISBN 9781781793374. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=27448. Date accessed: 25 Jun 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27448. Mar 2018

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