Rematriation

NS/S is introducing a formal process for rematriation to support seed sovereignty in communities that originated the seeds in the collection. NS/S defines rematriation as the return of seed to a person or tribe with a direct relationship to those seeds.

Donor/Descendant Rematriation - Upon request, when available and wherever possible, NS/S will return original seed to a donor or descendent of a seed donor, in addition to a recommended population size of the same variety so that it might be grown and shared with others. For rematriation requests please email rematriation@nativeseeds.org and provide your name, the name of the donor, where the donor lived, and your relationship to the donor. You can use the Adapts portal found here to learn about the locations of NS/S seedbank collections. 


Rematriation to a tribe - NS/S will consider requests from tribes who have cultural connections to seeds in the NS/S seed collection to restrict distribution of particular seed varieties or return substantial seed to the tribe. A request from a tribe will initiate a formal engagement and consultation process that will begin by informing other regional tribes of the request and inviting them to comment. The purpose of the consultation process is to respect and reflect the historical relationship of seed exchange and use amongst many regional tribes and because NS/S currently provides seed to a diversity of people representing Southwest tribes. NS/S will meet with the requesting tribe and other tribes claiming affiliation to share information about the relevant seed varieties. A decision will be made by the NS/S Board of Directors based on the comments received from all engaged tribes.   


Requests will be considered following formal, written letters to rematriation@nativeseeds.org from the following: 

  • Official Tribal Executive Branch  
  • Tribal Council 
  • Official Cultural Resource Representatives, at the request of Tribal Government leadership
  • A grass-roots tribal organization with the backing and support of official tribal government representatives of the executive branch or council