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Repatriation Office
Department of Anthropology  
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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)
Ethnographic Object Summaries

The Repatriation Office of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, has distributed summary reports about the objects in the National Museum of Natural History's ethnological collections to all federally recognized Native American tribes, Native Alaskan Villages and Corporations, and Native Hawaiian organizations. These reports provide listings of objects and information about their acquisition by the Museum. Separate reports were prepared for each culture listed in the Museum's collection database. The ethnographic summaries enable Native tribes and organizations to begin their review of the National Museum of Natural History's collections and identify those objects that may be of concern to them.

The reports were sent to all federally recognized tribes that have members identified with the culture in a particular report. The information in the summaries provides a basis for tribes to consult with the museum and to identify possible sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony. We do not attempt to identify which, if any, of these objects may be defined as funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony under the repatriation law. Identification of sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony can only be done in consultation with the culturally affiliated Native American group. Other objects in the Museum's anthropology collections, including archeological objects and human remains, are reported elsewhere. A table listing these reports, organized by culture name, is available online; additional copies of the reports are available to Native American representatives from the Repatriation Office upon request.

bulletEthnograpic Summary Reports Grouped By Region (pdf file)

Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History