The Repatriation Files: Conversations on Native American Cultural Sovereignty

Since 2015, Professor Phil Round has maintained a dynamic blog in support of Native intellectual sovereignty, entitled “The Repatriation Files: Conversations on Native American Cultural Sovereignty.”  See current and archived posts at:  

Round’s extensive teaching and research about Native American literature in the Department of English and American Indian & Native Studies Program at the University of Iowa features ongoing work to recover indigenous texts--and the meanings they hold for members of the Native communities who produced them. 

For the past 15 years, Round has especially worked on repatriation of American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and First Nations books and manuscripts. This work engages centrally with major recent/current trends in activism for indigenous rights, indexed in the U.S. by policies like the 1990 Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act. As Round elaborates:

Native scholars and activists have increasingly turned their attention to the broader category of “cultural patrimony” in their search for what Osage scholar Robert Warrior has called “intellectual sovereignty.” Reburying the bodies of one’s relations was critical to restoring dignity to Native peoples, but that was just the beginning. As Warrior points out, “the process of sovereignty, whether in the political or intellectual sphere, is not a matter of removing ourselves and our communities from the influences of the world in which we live.” In some ways, Warrior was speaking to a new generation of Native intellectuals who had helped bury the dead in the 90s and now sought new claims of ownership in the intellectual sphere. [see ]