Drawing on Anishinabe concepts of holistic health and well-being, this article explores ways that repatriation of ancestral remains and cultural items can contribute to healing and well-being in Indigenous communities. The focus is on “Indigenous storywork” and embodied practices amongst those who are engaged in reclaiming ancestral remains and cultural items, with examples from the author’s experience in repatriation, reburial, and reclaiming cultural heritage. The author describes her work developing a graphic narrative about repatriation as a method of storywork. She describes her use of comics and other storywork practices in teaching, and as a means of bringing Indigenous teaching and learning practices into higher education.
Braiding Strands of Wellness: How Repatriation Contributes to Healing through Embodied Practice and Storywork
Sonya Atalay is associate professor in the department of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She published Community-Based Archaeology: Research with, by and for Indigenous and Local Communities in 2012. Her cross-disciplinary work explores collaborative research partnerships with Native Nations, examining how the braided and holistic aspects of indigenous knowledge enhance approaches to research and teaching. Using graphic novels, animation, and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, Dr. Atalay is currently working with Native youth in partnership with Northeast Native communities to explore how reclaiming knowledge of land-based heritage and indigenous language contributes to community health and well-being.
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Sonya Atalay; Braiding Strands of Wellness: How Repatriation Contributes to Healing through Embodied Practice and Storywork. The Public Historian 1 February 2019; 41 (1): 78–89. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2019.41.1.78
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