Repatriation goes digital: Tribes receive archival copies of cultural materials
Items related to tribal life in North Dakota are being returned digitally
October 6, 2022
Thousands of culturally significant photographs, wax cylinder recordings and journals recently returned to the place where they were created over a century ago among the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes in North Dakota.
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.