Native Title claims across Australia produce archives that contain detailed information from researchers and Traditional Owners about the past and contemporary community and their connection to Country. Reflecting the authors' experience of working with Victorian Traditional Owner communities, this article will consider the research process that occurs in claims under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and the Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic). When a claim is settled this archive is required to be returned to the Traditional Owners. This article will examine the challenges which have delayed the return of materials in the Victorian context, and the possibilities such a return of materials provides to Traditional Owner communities and to researchers. It considers the work done by Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and institutions to understand archives as a means to facilitate self-determination. Most importantly, with the increasing importance of Indigenous data sovereignty, this article argues Traditional Owner communities can engage with these archives on their own terms—finally moving these archives from their colonial provenance to community owned, controlled and organised repositories preserving and presenting the community's historical, social and cultural knowledge.


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