Colonial Pathways Repatriation Manager

Company Name: 

Museum of Us


1350 el prado, balboa park
San Diego, CA 92101

Contact Name: 

Decolonizing Initiatives Department


Job Description: 

Located on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Kumeyaay Nation in the heart of Balboa Park, the Museum of Us (formerly the San Diego Museum of Man) is a cultural anthropology museum with an international footprint. The Museum explores the human experience from multicultural and intersectional perspectives to spark dialogue, self-reflection, and human connections.


The Colonial Pathways Repatriation Manager is a full-time position supporting Cultural Resources Department priorities around the repatriation of Indigenous cultural resources and ancestral human remains (domestic non-NAGPRA and international).The primary focus of the Colonial Pathways Repatriation Manager is to ensure compliance with the Museum Colonial Pathways Policy: 


This position will complete a comprehensive review of cultural resources holdings, identification of affiliated Indigenous communities (domestic and international), support collaborative consultation, and lead repatriation efforts with associated descendant communities. The Colonial Pathways Repatriation Manger must bring a deep understanding of U.S. domestic laws and international law regarding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The ideal candidate will center collaborative spaces that support and privilege Indigenous needs. This position reports to the Director of Cultural Resource and works collaboratively under the leadership of the Director of Decolonizing Initiatives. The position partners collaboratively with the Cultural Resources team, the Decolonizing Working Group, the Education team, and the Operations and Exhibits team.



  • Following the Museum’s decolonial procedures and policies lead consultations with Indigenous communities (domestic non-NAGPRA and international).  Ensuring transparency of communications and full disclosure to Indigenous communities of all available documentation that the Museum has legal authority to disclose.
  • Physically inventory cultural resource holdings in alignment with the Decolonizing Initiatives Strategic Action Plan’s phased regional consultation and repatriation plans.
  • Lead the consultation process with Indigenous communities (domestic non-NAGPRA and international), ensuring transparency of communication and full disclosure to communities of all available documentation that the Museum has legal authority to disclose. 
  • Work collaboratively in partnership with the Cultural Resources, Decolonizing Initiatives, and External Communications departments to finalize and implement the Colonial Pathways public notification and repatriation processes that were approved by the Board of Trustee in 2020.    
  • Oversee the legal and physical repatriation of cultural resources and ancestral human remains with support from Cultural Resources department and museum staff. 
  • Update and maintain detailed and accessible records on the Museum’s past and current outreach, notification, consultation, and repatriation processes with Indigenous communities (domestic non-NAGPRA and international). These records will be keep in accordance with current museum registration documentation management practices for physical and digital records. The position shall work with department staff as necessary to create procedures that maintain intellectual control of this information
  • As assigned, assist in gathering and consolidating information about the Museum’s prior non-NAGPRA repatriation efforts and Indigenous community outreach and collaboration history.
  • Coordinate with the Cultural Resources department staff as needed to ensure proper storage of ancestors and cultural resources in keeping with the Museum’s cultural care policies and Indigenous community’s protocols.
  • Collaborate with the Decolonizing Initiatives Department with the implementation of decolonization initiatives strategic action plan; assist with co-developing decolonial practices at the Museum.
  • As assigned, assist department staff in consultation for special projects, initiatives, and collaborative efforts with Nations related to Indigenous (domestic non-NAGPRA and international) and the museum’s decolonizing initiatives. Seek input and guidance from Indigenous representatives on matters that might impact the community.
  • Work in partnership with the Director of Cultural Resources in review of internal and external requests for access to and facilitates the use of Indigenous cultural resources ensuring all museum and community access protocols are adhered to while coordinating these efforts with department staff as needed.
  • Participate in grant writing, implementation, and reporting processes as requested.
  • Serve on internal committees and working groups as assigned.
  • Provide other support as required.



  • Demonstrated understanding of the colonial legacy of museums and the complexity of colonization’s impact on Indigenous communities (domestic and international).
  • Demonstrated experience working directly with Indigenous communities, navigating colonial histories and building sustainable transparent relationships.
  • Understanding of U.S. domestic laws and international laws and standards including UNDRIP
  • Minimum 3 years’ experience in a museum, library, archive, cultural center, or similar organization with a focus on cultural resources management/stewardship.
  • Demonstrated experience with documentation review and management practices including a basic understanding of digital asset management and registration practices.
  • Understanding of decolonial practices in regards to the care and management of cultural resources is preferred.
  • Experience in assisting with culturally complex, sensitive, or confidential projects - including a demonstrated ability to listen and deal empathetically with a wide range of people and cultural groups.
  • Understanding of equity, inclusion, access, and racial/culturally just practices within museums.
  • Demonstrated experience and ability to achieve deliverables while work collaboratively and independently without close supervision within tight deadlines.
  • Collaborative and autonomous approach with a focus on keeping the entire team updated.



  • Salary is $57,000 per year.
  • Schedule is flexible, averaging 40 hours per week.
  • Position is up to 50% work from home, if desired.
  • Our hiring practices are rooted in approach driven by a focus on equitability and sustainability. Specifically, the Museum offers an exceptional employee benefits package, including medical, dental and vision and life insurance coverage, as well as short and long term disability benefits. The Museum also offers a matching retirement contribution plan, up to 6% of an employee’s annual salary.



The Colonial Pathways Repatriation Manager position application deadline is midnight Pacific Time on Friday, August 13, 2021. Please submit your resume and cover letter to

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