First Peoples’ Cultural Council: Indigenous Cultural Heritage Stewardship Toolkit

Welcome to the Indigenous Cultural Heritage Stewardship Toolkit! This toolkit provides information and resources for Indigenous communities, Nations and organizations interested in learning about Indigenous Cultural Heritage (ICH) and the types of work involved in protecting, revitalizing and celebrating it.

The purpose of this toolkit is to empower Indigenous communities by providing a blueprint for planning and implementing cultural heritage programs. It includes guidelines and resources around policy, best practices, training, resourcing and funding. The toolkit is a living resource and will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Who Should Use the Toolkit?

This toolkit is intended for Indigenous communities, individuals and organizations interested in:

  • (Re)asserting Indigenous sovereignty over the management of cultural heritage
  • Designing and implementing cultural heritage initiatives
  • Developing cultural heritage stewardship plans
  • Creating cultural heritage policies
  • Starting their own cultural heritage management resource team

How to use the toolkit

Cultural protocols are at the heart of ICH planning and programs. Suggestions and resources in this guide are meant to be adapted to honour individual community protocols. Toolkit users are encouraged to use the toolkit to apply any relevant learnings to their own communities, making them their own.

This toolkit is designed to be read and engaged with from beginning to end, but toolkit users are also encouraged to skip around in the toolkit using the links provided below to target and quickly access the sections and resources most relevant to their work. This flexible format recognizes that Indigenous communities and organizations may be at different stages in their ICH work, and this work may have different scopes and goals.

This guide contains the following sections:

Section 1: Introduction to ICH Stewardship
This section describes what ICH is and explains how it is related to concepts of Indigenous autonomy, cultural property, Indigenous rights, and Indigenous law.

Section 2: Starting an ICH Initiative
This section provides suggestions and resources for starting a new ICH Initiative, including community engagement, developing a plan and a budget, accessing funding for the initiative, and implementing the initiative.

Section 3: Creating and ICH Policy
The section guides users through the development and implementation of an ICH policy, providing examples and resources for doing this work. This section also includes tools for protecting ICH, creating an ICH permitting system and developing an ICH research policy.

Section 4: Forming an ICH Management Team
This section describes how to form an ICH management team to design, administer and assess ICH initiatives.

Section 5: Resources
This section provides information and links to additional resources for Indigenous communities and organizations engaged in ICH initiatives.

This work takes time, and every step of the work matters. Remember that it all counts and that developing things slowly and thoughtfully can be a good approach. Determine the best path forward for your community and celebrate each step along the way.

Acknowledgements and Contact Information

The Métis people and urban Indigenous people who make their homes on these lands.
This toolkit was developed with the help of Indigenous heritage professionals and other collaborators. We are grateful for their generous support and guidance.
Inquiries about this toolkit can be directed to