Take my western historical for instance, there are many Native American characters in the story. Although I can do online research to garner gems of information, I still need someone in a knowlegable position to proof what I've written. After all, I could put those gems together in an erroneous manner, ending up with a cheap crystal band, when I was aiming for a diamond tennis bracelet.
Enter my friend, Grace Chiasson Miller of the Mi'kmaq tribe. I email her chapters or passages that contain Native references, and she kindly reponds with her opinion as to whether I'm being true and respectful to Native culture. I am very fortunate to have her--for many reasons. You see, she and I share a grandson. Grace is his maternal grammy and I am his paternal grandma. I like to think this fabulous pre-teen carries within him the best of both of us. Here is a picture of her in her regalia.
All writers need experts to consult when the need arises. Some you may know personally; others, strangers you may contact via email or phone. I once emailed a llama farm in North Carolina with a list of questions about the construction of a llama barn and the birth of a cria, or baby llama, explaining that I was a writer, badly in need of information. The gentleman kindly responded within 24 hours. Experts are invaluable sources that give our writing that essential ring of truth. Find them, cultivate them and thank them. Grace, thank you for your generosity of time and your sharing of Native information. You made my passage on dreams, visions and the ritual of "smudging" truthful to the Native way. I'm very blessed to have you as a source--and as a friend.