Working Respectfully with the Originating Communities

We are committed to working respectfully with the originating communities from whom the Museum’s collections have originated. Discussions regarding repatriation are governed by this principle. MOA considers all requests for repatriation seriously and on a case-by-case basis.

The Museum’s mandate is to maintain objects purchased or donated by the public in a facility accessible by the public, to further research and education, and to offer assistance to originating communities regarding the preservation and display of collections in their possession. The Museum’s work is guided by the recommendations of the Task Force report of the Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Museums Association, “Forging New Partnerships Between Museums and First Peoples” (1992). The University of British Columbia governs the Museum. Poilicy #128 is the official University policy on repatriation. Note also that the Museum is not part of the BC Treaty process.

The Museum acknowledges that all First Nations' material is part of the intellectual and cultural heritage of the respective First Nation. Policy #128 outlines in more detail considerations for the return of cultural objects.

In the repatriation process complex issues may arise. In many cases, for example, there may be no clear evidence, either oral or written, on the pathway that led the object to become housed in the Museum. The Museum therefore may involve the community and/ or individuals in the process of responding to a claim. We will consider a variety of options to meet the spirit and intent of a request, including special access to holdings, loans, exhibits, stewardship arrangements, sharing authority and responsibility for care and interpretation, replication or new creation of objects, and respectful storage and/or display of collections in accordance with the advice of the originating peoples.

The Museum will hold repatriation discussions in confidence until a joint resolution and public announcement are agreed upon.

Useful Downloads

Further information about MOA’s guidelines for repatriation and for the management of culturally sensitive materials at MOA, download the PDFs below.

Repatriation Guidelines Document

MOA is committed to working respectfully with the originating communities from whom the Museum’s collections have originated. Discussions regarding repatriation are governed by this principle. MOA considers all requests for repatriation seriously and on a case-by-case basis.

Management of Culturally Sensitive Material Guidelines

The Museum of Anthropology is committed to respecting the values and spiritual beliefs of the cultures represented in its collections. We know that our collections contain items that are important to the originating communities, and whose placement and care within the Museum continue to affect the values and beliefs of those communities.