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Since the 1980s, American museums have increasingly sought Native people’s assistance in exhibitions and other projects. While others often present their success stories, I draw on my museum experiences and examine how cultural misunderstandings about the issue of money and payments can undermine such consultations. Drawing on the literature of gifts, exchanges, and commodities, I suggest that better understanding of the dynamics of payments, reciprocity, and traditional knowledge, values, and exchanges can strengthen collaborative projects for both museums and communities. Simultaneously, I examine what is at stake for indigenous participants and museums, and what instrumental purposes their involvement serves.