Lucas da Costa Maciel

Grant Type

Engaged Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Comisión de Repatriación del Kiñelmapu Koyawe

Grant number

Gr. ERG-44

Approve Date

February 5, 2024

Project Title

da Costa Maciel, Lucas (Comisión de Repatriación del Kiñelmapu Koyawe.) "“Negotiations across worlds”: an ethnography of repatriation as collaboration to freeing Mapuche ancestors and spirits from museum captivity."

Imagine spirits and ancestors imprisoned and unable to resume their life cycles. Now consider that because of this situation, they begin tormenting and making people ill. Finally, think of a prominent museum as their prison. This is precisely the case this collaborative research faces. Conveyed from the Koyawe territory and in collaboration with their Repatriation Program, this research is an ethnography of the international repatriation process involving the Mapuche things removed by Samuel Lothrop between 1929 and 1939. It focuses on describing the “negotiations across worlds” – co-researcher Rosa Huenchulaf’s words – that repatriation entails: including the more-than-human assemblages the process convokes and enacts as stakeholders, the research makes palpable the ontological dimensions articulating relations across the institutional, legal, and bureaucratic requirements. For this, it will use gvxan – conversations, Mapuche discursive and analytical genre – as a methodological guide, gathering different knowledge regimes (cultural transmission, shamanism, anthropology) to produce evidence that will be collectively analyzed with the Koyawe territory’s representatives of repatriation. Interested in the global connections created by the politics of spirits, the research begins in Washington, DC, in April 2024 and concludes in the Koyawe territory in June 2026, following the dispossessed things’ return home.