Indigenous Cultural Heritage (ICH) is fundamental to the well-being of Indigenous peoples. Cultural practices and expression are the building blocks of personal identity and social cohesion. The link between ICH and the mental, physical, and social well-being of Indigenous peoples is well-established. Maintaining a strong link to one’s culture creates resilience and connectedness, contributes to the social determinants of health, and acts as a protective factor against mental and physical health challenges and the breakdown of social systems. ICH strengthens inter-generational relationships as knowledge is shared between generations. ICH is also inseparable from Indigenous arts and languages, which are embedded in every aspect of ICH. This session will explore how the inclusion or recognition of ICH is critical to repair past and current damaged relationships and renew the strength and vitality of Indigenous communities and for Canada as a whole. This work will involve much collaboration, conversation, reflection, development of new relationships, learning and knowledge sharing. It will take time and it will take effort. It will cause us to rethink our values and examine our approaches. But its value is clear. Diversity of cultures are essential to our humanity, and Indigenous cultural heritage deserves our protection and respect. This work cannot be done without strong partnerships and allies.
Describe the uniqueness of Indigenous Cultural Heritage and discuss how it does not yet fit in the current understanding of culture, heritage, and arts.
Explain how the approaches, policies, legislation, and programs that have done so much damage, and still threaten the survival of Indigenous culture and the health of Indigenous communities.
Identify ways to embrace Indigenous Cultural Heritage, to enjoy its diversity and its richness, to honor and learn from its wisdom.
Summarize ways of supporting the inclusion and recognition of Indigenous Cultural Heritage.