Manager of Repatriation and Ethical Practices – Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Spurlock Museum seeks a colleague with experience engaging and collaborating with source communities, descendants, and Native Nations. We value a strong commitment to ethical practices in cultural heritage management, creative thinking, and enthusiasm for collaborative work. The successful candidate will enjoy working in an environment that promotes innovation and experimentation and be dedicated to making the Spurlock Museum a welcoming and inviting space for our community. The Spurlock Museum team is a diverse and talented group of museum professionals that promote transparency, thoughtfully dismantle traditional gate-keeping museum practices, prioritize reparative practices, and centers diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in our work. 

Job Summary

The Manager of Repatriation and Ethical Practices builds collaborative relationships with source communities on behalf of Spurlock Museum. They develop and evaluate processes to share or return important cultural items and archives to descendants, source communities, or culture keepers. They collaborate with all Spurlock Museum staff members to advance this reparative work.

Duties & Responsibilities

Collections Research and Relationship Building

  • Serve as a liaison between the Museum and source communities, stakeholders, and descendants.
  • Respond to inquiries and requests from Native American representatives and other stakeholders, schedule consultations, build and maintain communication channels with stakeholders.
  • In collaboration with other staff and units, develop a prioritized list of all Museum holdings for further research and review to determine if provenance for all collections is lawful and ethical. Consult with source communities and nations to develop co-curation agreements, restorative actions, or other reparative measures, as appropriate.
  • Research all records and archives and consult with nations and descendants to determine cultural or community affiliation. Conduct independent research on Museum collections.
  • Build collaborative relationships with descendants, source communities, source nations, and culture keepers to ensure ethical storage, handling, and display of collections.
  • Schedule and facilitate access to collections by stakeholders.
  • Manage the schedule and logistical considerations for site visits and assist in preparing other staff for visits, consultations, and repatriations of non-NAGPRA eligible holdings.
  • Enter data and maintain the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data and information related to research and consultations in the Museum’s databases.
  • With other staff, develop grant proposals and funding requests to support repatriation and consultation activities.
  • Work with curators to ensure appropriate protocols and conventions are established in the display and exhibition of cultural objects. Ensure that interpretations of exhibited objects include voices and views of source communities, descendants, and stakeholders.
  • Assist in the selection of objects for display, acquisition, and loan to ensure ethical practices.

NAGPRA Research and Compliance

  • Assist the NAGPRA Office in maintaining the Museum’s compliance with NAGPRA.
  • Provide information to the NAGPRA Office about the Museum’s collections and records and communicate any changes to the National NAGPRA program and laws to Museum staff.
  • Coordinate with the NAGPRA Office to maintain and file all NAGPRA records, communications, notices, records of activities, and inventories.

Policy Development

  • Advise in the development and refinement of policies related to acquisitions and deaccessioning to ensure lawful and ethical practices are maintained.
  • Address legal and ethical compliance with local, state, federal, and international laws, treaties, and conventions relating to the acquisition and use of collections.
  • Communicate with the University of Illinois legal team, Government Relations, and Contracts Office to develop unique co-curation and other agreements with source communities, nations, and descendants.
  • Advise museum staff on decolonizing practices, initiatives, and policies.
  • Serve on the Museum’s Acquisitions Committee and advise on potential acquisitions and deaccessions.


  • May supervise hourly employees, student employees, volunteers, and practicum students.
  • Actively participate with the other members of the Registration Section in developing the section’s priorities and goals.
  • Provide information for reports and grants.
  • Advise Museum Director on staffing needs and concerns.
  • Serve on the Museum’s Core Committee that addresses Museum-wide policy, strategic planning, budget planning, and other issues.

Participate in Museum-wide initiatives and other professional activities that contribute to the missions of the Museum and the University of Illinois

  • Attend staff meetings and actively participate in planning and evaluation of the Museum.
  • Actively participate in creating a work environment that is supportive, respectful, welcoming, and collaborative.
  • Attend Museum events and assist in promoting the Museum on campus and in the community.
  • Actively participate in creating and reviewing Museum policies and procedures.
  • May serve on community or campus committees, working groups, or participate in other advisory groups.
  • Remain active in appropriate professional groups and develop conference or informational presentations when appropriate.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • A total of two (2) years in education, training and/or work experience working with Native American Tribes, representatives, and descendants.
  • Demonstrated experience with procedures, policies, and activities related to compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies, Anthropology, History, Art History, Legal Studies or related field.
  • 2 years of experience managing staff.
  • 2 years of experience in project management.
  • Experience working in a nonprofit, tribal or first nations organization, arts/cultural organization, or higher education.
  • Experience working with diverse cultures and communities from around the globe.
  • Experience working for an organization committed to supporting diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and belonging.
  • Knowledge of Native American History.
  • Knowledge of the history of museums.
  • Knowledge of Museum best practices.

Successful candidates will have the following:

  • Ability to build rapport and establish effective working relationships with co-workers and stakeholders
  • Ability to communicate effectively with others
  • Awareness of, and sensitivity to, cultural and linguistic differences
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Demonstrated effective organizational skills
  • Ability to assume responsibility and to work independently with minimum guidance
  • Demonstrated effective organization, supervisory and communication skills desired to provide daily leadership
  • Ability to work with a diverse range of college and departmental personnel, including deans, college staff, department heads, and departmental financial and human resource personnel
  • Ability to work collaboratively

Appointment Information

This is a 100% full-time Civil Service 5002 – Program Coordinator position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the deadline date. The starting salary for position is $60,000. Actual starting salary will be determined by the candidate’s credentials and alignment with the position requirements.

For more information on Civil Service classifications, please visit the SUCSS web site at

Application Procedures & Deadline Information

Applications must be received by 6:00 pm (CST) on January 8, 2024. To apply for this position, please create a candidate profile at Use the Apply Now button on the posting and upload your cover letter; resume (months and years of employment must be included); a one page statement describing your experiences working with Native American, Indigenous, or Under-represented communities; and names/contact information for three professional references. References will only be contacted if candidate becomes a finalist for the position. Please remember to include specific information on how you meet the qualifications of the position in your application materials, including all relevant experiences. 

In order to be considered as a transfer candidate, you must apply for this position. Applications not submitted through will not be considered. If required by the position, transcripts or other documentation of credentials are to be provided no later than the first day of employment. For further information about this specific position, please contact For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

The University of Illinois must also comply with applicable federal export control laws and regulations and, as such, reserves the right to employ restricted party screening procedures for applicants. 

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing

Requisition ID: 1018989
Job Category: Administrative
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Categories: Job Postings