Ethnographic Archival Records and Cultural Property

  • Krisztina Laszlo


This article looks at concepts of cultural property as they apply to archival holdings, and specifically how these concepts apply to ethnographic archival materials with First Nations content. The author explores ethical and moral responsibilities of archivists to the information content of such material in our holdings and the ways we treat culturally sensitive images and content. The author also addresses the increased involvement of aboriginal people in the management of their cultural resources and how collaboration can determine culturally appropriate care and preservation from an archival perspective. Issues relating to moral and physical ownership are also addressed.


Cet article examine des concepts de la propriété culturelle tels qu’ils se rapportent aux fonds d’archives. De façon plus spécifique, il examine comment ces concepts s’appliquent au matériel archivistique ethnographique relatif aux Premières Nations. L’auteur explore les responsabilités éthiques et morales des archivistes face au contenu de l’information dans de tels fonds d’archives et leur façon de considérer ces images et ces documents dans la précarité de leur contexte culturel. L’auteure se penche aussi sur l’engagement croissant des populations autochtones envers la gestion de leurs ressources culturelles et les façons dont la collaboration contribue à des méthodes de soin et de conservation qui font appel à la spécificité culturelle des documents. Les questions relatives au droit de propriété moral et physique sont également abordées.

Author Biography

Krisztina Laszlo
Krisztina Laszlo holds a joint position at UBC as the Archivist for the Museum of Anthropology and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. She completed an undergraduate degree at Simon Fraser University along with a certificate in Public History. She graduated from the Master of Archival Studies Program at the University of British Columbia in 1999. She sits on the executive of the Archives Association of British Columbia and is the Chair of its Grants Committee. She is also involved with the Special Interest Section on Aboriginal Archives of the ACA. Her interests include cultural property as it applies to archives, contemporary art archives, information and privacy and museum archives. Her article "The Fonds and Creative Licence: The Morris/ Trasov Archive," appeared in the Spring 2001 issue of the AABC Newsletter.
How to Cite
Laszlo, Krisztina. 2006. “Ethnographic Archival Records and Cultural Property”. Archivaria 61 (September), 299-307.