chapter  9
Whose story is this?
Complexities and complicities of using archival footage
ByFred Myers
Pages 26

Ideas about ownership and collaboration are two axes in the process of making representations and negotiating the complexities of cultural property when working with Aboriginal people and their archives. This chapter presents an account of the relationships established, evoked, negotiated, and abrogated in the course of a project of "repatriating" film footage to an Indigenous Australian community, a project that led to the making of an archive-based documentary that stitches together and brings into visibility several distinct but related trajectories and personal histories. It is a case study, illuminating the vexed and unstable intersections of relationships and rights in the production of visual representations of an Indigenous Australian history. The chapter traces the "making" of a filmic representation at a particular point in time, both in Australia and in the history of the role film plays, and the repatriation or return of this material to source communities and the very distinct conditions that make this possible.