What is Indigenous Cultural Heritage?

Indigenous cultural heritage (ICH) is holistic, meaning it includes physical, emotional, mental, kinship and spiritual components. It includes both tangible (physical) objects and places, as well as intangible aspects. Each of these concepts is inextricably linked, holding intrinsic value to the well-being of Indigenous peoples and affecting all generations. All are the belongings of Indigenous Peoples.

Examples of Intangible ICH

  • Songs
  • Stories
  • Laws
  • Language
  • Harvesting practices
  • Dance forms
  • Memories

Examples of Tangible ICH

  • Regalia and clothing
  • House posts
  • Totem poles
  • Tools
  • Carvings
  • Art
  • Archaeological sites
  • Traditional medicines

Users can consider the following questions as they work their way through this section:

  • Why is your culture and heritage important to your family, community and Nation?
  • How does your culture and heritage connect you to your ancestors?
  • What is one example of cultural heritage in your community?
  • What are the impacts if cultural heritage is not managed in a respectful way?