MPR News: Repatriation goes digital: Tribes receive archival copies of cultural materials

One focus of healing historical trauma is the repatriation of belongings, records and even bodies to their Tribal homelands. Many Colleges, Universities, museums and Historical Societies possess belongings or archives that inherently belong to Tribal people. One way that tribes are tackling the issue of repatriation is through the digital reclamation of information, photographs, wax cylinder recordings, journals and other culturally relevant data that has been kept by non-Tribal organizations. Digital repatriation is one way that Tribes can protect and preserve information for future generations.

Excerpt from article:

“The return of the collection now in the archive of the Minnesota Historical Society was done through a process called digital repatriation. It’s a new tool being used by institutions including museums to return archival quality copies of cultural materials that are not physical objects back to the tribes they belong. These materials are considered intellectual properties. 

“This is second best from actually getting the items back themselves, however, we can make it available to a much broader audience a lot easier,” said Dr. Twyla Baker, an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation in northwestern North Dakota and president of the Nueta, Hidatsa, Sahnish College.”

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