The lack of engagement by museums with Indigenous Nations for stewardship purposes, as reported in a 2020 Canadian Museum Association survey, prompts a case study of stewardship of Indigenous cultural material at a small non-Indigenous museum. Inadequate policies and practices for the Indigenous cultural material there are found to threaten the belongings with dissociation, hinder authentic representation, and perpetuate visitor ignorance. Stewardship reform is recommended. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada are prominent in the growing body of mainly Indigenous literature that offers insight into what constitutes culturally competent stewardship. Analysis of this literature has resulted in a set of principles for stewardship of Indigenous cultural material. Suggested stewardship reforms emphasize the acknowledgement of the authority of Indigenous Nations to govern their cultural material and the mandate for museums to collaborate with Indigenous Nations to co-manage Indigenous cultural materials in museum custody.
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Thesis advisor: Welch, John R.
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