The Aurukun archives held at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies were initially developed in accordance with a 'before it is too late' model. In response to national controversy over proposed bauxite mining on Wik land, the Institute reorientated its documentation strategy towards collaborating with the Aurukun community. Wik people were not so much the subjects of the archive, but collaborators in its production. The outcome was an extensive multimedia archive which underpinned the Wik native title claim in 1993. Since then the collaborative relationship between the Institute and the Wik people has lapsed. Intermittent attempts to repatriate parts of the Aurukun archives were not successful in the long term. While revising controls over key Aurukun record groups, current Institute staff became aware of the extent and some of the strengths of the Aurukun archives. The staff have been attempting to revive the community's awareness of their archives and their interest in them. Although the community's interests presently have a different focus, revived collaboration between the Institute and the Aurukun community could result in some form of distributed custody and control of the Aurukun archives which may be of value to Wik society.