Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Indigenous Resources

Research and Indigenous Concerns and Communities

Indigenous Intellectual Property

Indigenous Intellectual Property is not adequately protected under the Canadian Copyright Act. Indigenous Knowledge, such as songs, oral stories, and traditions, fall outside of colonial notions of ownership. Readers should be cautious when citing Indigenous Knowledge found in texts (especially historic texts) as these may have been taken from communities without proper permission.

"Who holds "legal' copyright to that knowledge or cultural expression under Canada's current Copyright Act is often contrary to Indigenous notion of copyright ownership. Indigenous Knowledge may be found in published works as a result of research or appropriation, and in these cases, the author of the published work holds that "legal" copyright to that knowledge or cultural expression, while Indigenous peoples would see the owners as the people from where the knowledge originated. As in Western notion of copyright, Indigenous peoples regard unauthorized use of their cultural expressions as theft" (CFLA, 2018).

Canadian Federation of Library Association (CFLA). (2018). Position Statement: Indigenous Knowledge in Canada's Copyright Act. http://cfla-fcab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/CFLA-FCAB_Indigenous_knowledge_statement.pdf

Indigenous Intellectual Property: Web Resources
Position Statement: Indigenous Knowledge in Canada's Copyright Act
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Intergovernmental Committee 
Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis People of Canada