Our report uses the concept of “disruptive technology” to place digital return in northern regions into a social and technological context. The term disruptive technologies was first coined by Clayton Christensen in his 1997 book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. Disruptive technologies are technological innovations that upset networks
supporting the existing state of affairs. Digital return acts as a disruptive technology because it disrupts established institutional models for archiving, accessing, and interpreting objects and cultural knowledge. Paradoxically, digital return also disrupts traditional Indigenous networks that support how objects and cultural knowledge are accessed and circulated by making them freely available on the public Internet.