Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
Abstract: Intangible cultural heritage is widely identified as the heritage of the marginalized. It is rarely the culture of the state and the elites. The continuity and development of intangible cultural heritage is quite often the outcome of struggle, resilience, and resistance. These communities face double duress, as they are generally the first to feel the consequences of the political, economic, environmental, and social instabilities that emerge from traumatic events, even as they carry the burden of past marginalization. Individuals and communities are often forced to relocate or simply endure in the wake of socio-environmental disasters, social traumas, war, and degrading environments. In the aftermath, will they be able to continue to safeguard and ensure the continuity of their intangible cultural heritage in its various forms? Climate change also affects aspects of land ownership and restricts or eliminates access to environmental resources and places of worship as well as locales of religious/cosmological significance. Theoretical papers are juxtaposed with case studies from around the world, and session participants examine the active roles communities play in fighting negligent resource management and detail the ongoing struggles of individuals to have full and meaningful access to their rights as citizens. In their presentations, scholars will reflect upon how they as researchers navigate changing climates to not only record intangible heritage but also to offer communities the tools they need to engage with longitudinal change. These speakers continue the work initiated in 2015 by Brazilian anthropologists to establish an Inter-American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Forum working group, which emerged out of the Declaration on the Need to Protect and Safeguard Cultural Heritage in the Americas and the Caribbean. The declaration, which was ratified by anthropological and archaeological associations throughout the Americas, stressed the importance of establishing a working group to encourage and carry out research on threats to cultural heritage, both tangible and tangible. While this initiative, among others, seeks to safeguard cultural heritage in the face of social, political, and economic change, these presentations consider new topics, as encouraged by the declaration, as a way of contributing to the exchange of experiences and to improving our knowledge about heritage. Thus, the forum’s research sphere is expanded topically and geographically to consider climate change and socio-environmental disasters as other serious threats to the disruption of traditional practices, and thus the very identity of communities. This research follows the perspective that cultural heritage is critical to group identity and sustainability and is an inalienable human right.