Welcome to the Indigenous Heritage Circle

The Indigenous Heritage Circle (IHC) was founded in 2016 as an Indigenous-designed and Indigenous-led organization dedicated to the advancement of cultural heritage matters of importance to Métis, Inuit and First Nations in Canada. Through multiple channels for dialogue and learning, the IHC provides a trusted and inclusive space for sharing information, ideas and issues related to Indigenous cultural places, landscapes, narratives, languages, practices, legal traditions, protocols and collections. It also aims to transform expectations about cultural heritage in Canada by making Métis, Inuit and First Nations views heard and addressed in all related issues and decisions.

IHC and UNDRIP

IHC seeks to act in full accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Canada has committed to a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership, and rooted in the principles of the UNDRIP. Two of the most pertinent Articles of UNDRIP for the IHC are:

Article 5: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.
Article 31 (1) Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their
sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic
resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna
and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional
games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to
maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property
over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional
cultural expressions.

IHC Vision

Indigenous Peoples are the true caretakers of Indigenous heritage. The IHC aims to support Indigenous Peoples in caring for their cultural heritage by providing a centre of expertise, dialogue and learning to find solutions, celebrate strengths and promote knowledge embedded in Indigenous lands, ways of living, and communities.

IHC Goals

  • Advocate for cultural heritage programs, protocols and policies that can improve the wellness of Indigenous communities
  • Further the understanding, articulation and application of Indigenous heritage and associated practices and protocols
  • Showcase the talents and skills of Indigenous youth, scholars and Elders to identify, study, protect, interpret and manage Indigenous heritage
  • Develop tools, processes and collaborations that will assist with sharing heritage knowledge, perspectives and solutions with others, including governments and non-Indigenous organizations.

Getting the Work Done and the Word Out
The Government of Canada has committed itself to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples in Canada. As part of reconciliation and new relationships with Indigenous peoples, the IHC believes that the federal government must be pressed to support the development of an Indigenous controlled organization that will represent Indigenous interests and apply Indigenous knowledge and practices in working with each other and allied groups to identify and protect heritage that matter to Indigenous people.

IHC Roundtables

The IHC directors are committed to hearing from as many people as possible about how the Circle can serve Indigenous communities and contribute to solutions related to the protection, celebration and sharing of cultural heritage.

The IHC held a roundtable in Ottawa in November 2016. Our second engagement session took place in Vancouver on 11 May 2017. We hope to host additional conversations in Yukon and elsewhere very soon.

Please keep in touch with us by coming back to this website to learn more about how you can contribute to and learn more about the IHC.

IHC Vancouver Forum, Musqueam Cultural Centre, 11 May 2017

IHC Roundtable, Wabano Centre, Ottawa, 23 November 2016