This contribution is a stab at unpacking the discursive register restitution, return and repatriation.
Initially, I map the genealogies of these terms, suggesting that an adequate conceptualization rests
on the elementary forms of reciprocity and recognition. I contend that the discursive register can
both be understood within neo-Maussian exchange theory as a set of transactional orders resting
on sliding scales of obligation and within postcolonial theory hinging on the concept of recognition.
I further argue that repatriation claims cannot be conceived independently from the regimes
of recognition they address, which both enable and silence claims. I conclude by suggesting that the
intersection of reciprocity and recognition might illuminate the institution of cultural property as
a phenomenon of postcolonial potlatching.