Developing an Indigenous Cultural Heritage Management Team

Planning an ICH Management Team

Planning an ICH management team starts with determining what work needs to be done and what skills are required to complete the work.

Questions to consider when planning an ICH management team

  • What kind of ICH initiative are you building?
  • What are the activities needed to implement the initiative?
  • What skills are required for these activities?
  • How many people are needed to carry out the activities?
  • Can some work start with just one or two people?

ICH Management Team Responsibilities

Leadership responsibilities of the ICH management team may include the following:

  • Maintaining awareness of ICH community goals: Ensuring program activities align with community goals
  • Organizing and leading programming within the community: Offering programs to restore and protect ICH that is valued by the community
  • Educating the public: Increasing understanding of the community’s cultural heritage through signage, workshops, community events and newsletters
  • Community engagement: Listening to community members to learn about their cultural heritage priorities
  • Creating cultural heritage policies: Developing policies about the importance of ICH and how it should be respected
  • Managing an Indigenous-owned permitting system: Overseeing the activities relating to ICH permits and ensuring that permits are followed
  • Monitoring heritage within the territory: Taking an inventory of important sites and landscapes
  • Working with developers and project proponents: Ensuring ICH policies are respected
  • Communicating with industry: Processing development referrals from the Archaeology Branch of the B.C. government

ICH Management Team Roles

An ICH team can be structured in different ways according to what works for the community. Every community will need a lead person. They may also need a small team of ICH staff. Communities may also consider having an advisory committee. The table below describes common roles for ICH management team members.

Click here for a worksheet that to help ICH teams identify key people for an ICH management team.

Key People on ICH Management TeamRoles
ICH Team LeadThe ICH team lead is responsible for guiding the development and delivery of ICH initiatives. Their duties may include the following:
• Developing and managing the ICH team
• Developing and facilitating meetings and planning activities
• Creating the ICH initiative plan
• Developing and managing the ICH initiative budget
• Preparing documents and communications
• Conducting research on ICH
• Writing proposals and attaining funding
• Collaborating and liaising with other communities, funders and external partners
ICH Management TeamThis is a core team of dedicated people responsible for developing documents, facilitating meetings, conducting research, communicating with community members, etc. Ideally the core team members are paid for their work and are able to dedicate sufficient time and energy to the initiative.
Community ChampionsCommunity champions are members of the community who can provide insight and recommendations to guide ICH initiatives. Champions could include Elders, Knowledge Keepers, or anyone who is passionate about their community’s culture. Champions may engage in ICH initiatives because they are interested in and/or knowledgeable about the community’s ICH, because it is a traditional or family responsibility passed on to them, or because they have technical skills needed to engage with external developers, researchers or contractors.
Advisory CommitteeICH teams may consider forming an advisory committee of community champions. An advisory committee is separate from the core ICH management team. Their role is to provide insight and recommendations about the ICH initiative (as opposed to doing the work of organizing planning events and documentation). As this is a volunteer role, members could be compensated for their time through an honorarium, shared meals or other ways of showing gratitude for their time and expertise.

Building the ICH Management Team

Building an ICH management team involves filling a few key roles first, and then filling other roles as needed, depending on the focus of the program.

Before hiring staff, consider whether existing staff within the community have knowledge and responsibilities for ICH and might be a good fit for the ICH team. Coordinate with community departments and leaders to understand the heritage work they are already doing, and who should be involved in new initiatives.

As an ICH program grows, team leaders might consider adding more team members, which may require roles with specialized knowledge, including both community-based knowledge and post-secondary education.

Click here for a link to training and education opportunities that may be of interest to ICH team members.

Keep in mind that this work takes time and participants may come and go over time. Be open and prepared to bring new people into the circle.

Field skills and qualifications to consider

Determining which skills an ICH team should have on the ground will depend on the ICH initiative’s area of focus. The following are examples of field skills to consider when building an ICH team:

  • Ability to carry out physically demanding cultural heritage duties: digging, backfilling, hiking/walking through rough terrain, repetitive actions
  • A valid B.C. driver’s license (Class 5) and access to a vehicle
  • First Aid training (Level 1)
  • Experience in data management (Excel, Access, etc.)
  • Experience with mapping and GIS