Tracking Properness: Repackaging Culture in a Remote Australian Town
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This article examines the production and circulation of digitized indigenous traditions as cultural objects that repackage tradition and reposition indigeneity. From its initial release in 2000, Yawulyu Mungamunga Women's Dreaming Songs (a compact disc released internationally by a group of Warumungu women) prompted debate about cultural openness. The disc became a source for performative innovation, and was held up as an exemplary model of what Judy Nakkamarra, one of the Warumungu collaborators in this project, defined as "culture work"--those daily activities that ensure the reproduction of Warumungu tradition (Christen 2004). Here the author explores how local concerns for the continuation of "proper" tradition have rearticulated ritual practices, remapped commercial spaces, extended ancestral tracks, and created the possibility for new alliances.