The final case study looked at a medal from the Minnesota Historical Society that was repatriated about a decade ago, but has been left on display at the society. It is notable that this medal was not found in a burial site and was actually donated by the family of a tribal chief. This example shows how the tribe and the museum reached to an agreement that serves both sides.
Indian peace medals represent the shared cultural heritage of the United States and Native Americans. Although a few medals fall under the NAGPRA (1990) law and are required to be repatriated, most do not, yet they are still an important part of Native American history and culture. Because peace medals were made by the United States but given to Indians, they are a significant part of the collective identity of America. As I wrote in my paper, “Institutions, collectors, and Indians should recognize the unique nature of peace medals and work together to determine what options best preserve the purpose and significance of these medals.”