Responses to Requests for Repatriation
The Repatriation Office of the National Museum of Natural History produces detailed reports in response to tribal repatriation requests that summarize all the available information on the origins of the collections in question. Requested collections are assessed to determine their cultural affiliation and fit with categories of repatriatable collections. This effort to determine the cultural affiliation of remains and objects may take into consideration any available information, including geographical, kinship, biological, archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, oral traditional, historical, or any other relevant information or expert opinion.
Consultation and information on cultural affiliation from Native American communities is an important part of the evaluation process. Recommendations for repatriation are made on the basis of this assembled information. Upon receipt of the completed report, a Native American group may disagree with the affiliation finding and recommendations for repatriation. If the tribe feels that the report has not adequately considered the evidence, the Repatriation Office welcomes any additional evidence that can be provided and will reconsider the evaluation. If the tribe is still not satisfied with the findings of the report, the tribe may request that the independently appointed Smithsonian Repatriation Review Committee review the dispute.
Summaries of Cultural Affiliation Reports