Burden, Gemmia: The violent collectors who gathered Indigenous artefacts for the Queensland Museum

Gemmia Burden

The violent collectors who gathered Indigenous artefacts for the Queensland Museum‘, The Conversation, 28 May 2018

Detailed examination of the links between frontier violence and museum collecting.

While there is no evidence of the museum being directly involved in frontier killings, the use of the police, protectors, missionaries and frontier doctors as the dominant network of collectors implicates the museum as a passive beneficiary of dispossession …

Apart from benefiting from the spoils of colonial violence, the act of collecting itself can be seen as violent. Structural violence – the social, cultural, legal, economic and political structures that marginalise groups – does not only cause physical harm, it also inflicts damage on the mind and spirit …

Taking materials from country also served Europeans in claiming possession, both emotional and physical, of the land. By removing Aboriginal people and culture, the invaders were writing their own narratives of ownership over the land.

For more on this and related issues, scroll through our First Peoples links.

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