Repatriation & Shared Stewardship

This policy for the care and repatriation of the sacred objects in the Ethnology Reserve Collection at the RSM has been built on the interests, needs and cultural perspectives of Aboriginal peoples. Three principles, introduced in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum Act, 2007, form the basis for this policy:

  • Aboriginal peoples have a connection to Aboriginal sacred and culturally sensitive objects, regardless of where those objects are held;
  • Aboriginal sacred and culturally sensitive objects in the collection are vital to the maintenance of traditional ways;
  • the deeper meanings associated with Aboriginal sacred and culturally sensitive objects are known only to Aboriginal members of their cultures of origin.

This policy offers four options for the care and management of the sacred objects in the Ethnology Reserve Collection:

  • Option to maintain status quo and not submit any Request for Action;
  • Option for shared stewardship (co-management) to store and manage the sacred objects;
  • Option to request the repatriation/return of the sacred objects;
  • Option for replication of sacred objects for educational or artistic research purposes.

The Ethnology Reserve Collection at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is a special collection that presently contains one-hundred and ninety-nine (199) sacred and ceremonial objects, identified by Elders of Saskatchewan in 1986-87. Since that time, this special collection has been kept separate from the main ethnology collection, has not been available for exhibit or research, and has been accessible as needed.

Through consultation, the advice of Elders has been followed regarding the traditional protocols for the care and stewardship of this special collection. The Ethnology Reserve Collection includes items such as pipes, pipe bags, pipe stems, eagle feathers, eagle bone whistles, drums, rattles and bundles. The list of sacred objects in the Ethnology Reserve Collection is available upon request by Aboriginal individuals with ties to the sacred objects and who wish to take part in the options of this policy.

NOTE: Only Aboriginal people with ties to sacred objects may participate in the actions of this policy.

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Procedures Cover Image

Request Cover Image
Request to View

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Request for Action

Contact Information:

Aboriginal Studies
Royal Saskatchewan Museum
2340 Albert Street

Ph: 306-787-1644 or 306-787-2815
Toll free: 1-866-984-4964