Indigenous peoples around the world are seeking greater control over tangible and intangible cultural heritage. In Canada, issues concerning repatriation and trade of material culture, heritage site protection, treatment of ancestral remains, and control over intangible heritage are governed by a complex legal and policy environment.
First Nations Cultural Heritage and Law is the first of two interdisciplinary volumes exploring First Nations perspectives on cultural heritage and issues of reform within and beyond Western law. Written in plain language and in collaboration with First Nation partners, it contains seven case studies featuring indigenous concepts, legal orders, and encounters with legislation and negotiations; a national review essay; three chapters reflecting on major themes; and a self-reflective critique on the challenges of collaborative and intercultural research. Although the volume draws on specific First Nation experiences, it covers a wide range of topics of concern to Inuit, Metis, and other indigenous peoples.
The essays in these two volumes [First Nations Cultural Heritage and Law and Protection of First Nations Cultural Heritage] invoke national, international, and First Nations customary law as a channel for reversing and providing redress for a major effect of colonialism. They gather substantial information around this theme in a discourse of advocacy, providing a strong focus for discussion but leaving to one side significant issues that are likely to require nuanced consideration when specific questions concerning particular aspects of heritage require resolution.
This is a compelling, important, and path-breaking book that brings together a distinguished group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal contributors. It is indispensable reading and will undoubtedly become one of the touchstones of law and Aboriginal cultural heritage.
Catherine Bell is a professor of law at the University of Alberta. Val Napoleon teaches in the Faculty of Native Studies and the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta.
Contributors: Kelly Bannister, Dale Cunningham, Dorothy First Rider, Marianne Ignace, Ron Ignace, Allyson Jeffs, Lea Joe, Susan Marsden, Heather McCuaig, Eric McLay, the Mookakin Cultural Society, George Nicholas, Brian Noble, Richard Overstall, Heather Raven, Emily Snyder, Michael Solowan, Graham Statt, Brian Thom, and Frank Weasel Head
Preface: Respect for Elder Knowledge – Eric McLay and Lea Joe interviewing Arvid Charlie (Luschiim) / Dorothy First Rider, in consultation with Frank Weasel Head
Introduction, Methodology, and Thematic Overview / Catherine Bell and Val Napoleon
Part 1: Our Voices, Our Culture
1 Recovering from Colonization: Perspectives of Community Members on Protection and Repatriation of Kwakwaka’wakw Cultural Heritage / Catherine Bell, Heather Raven, and Heather McCuaig, in consultation with Andrea Sanborn, the U’mista Cultural Society, and the ‘Namgis Nation
2 The Law Is Opened: The Constitutional Role of Tangible and Intangible Property in Gitanyow / Richard Overstall, in consultation with Val Napoleon and Katie Ludwig
3 Northwest Coast Adawx Study / Susan Marsden
4 ‘A’lhut tu tet Sul’hweentst [Respecting the Ancestors]: Understanding Hul’qumi’num Heritage Laws and Concerns for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage / Eric McLay, Kelly Bannister, Lea Joe, Brian Thom, and George Nicholas
5 Repatriation and Heritage Protection: Reflections on the Kainai Experience / Catherine Bell, Graham Statt, and the Mookakin Cultural Society
6 Poomaksin: Skinnipiikani-Nitsiitapii Law, Transfers, and Making Relatives: Practices and Principles for Cultural Protection, Repatriation, Redress, and Heritage Law Making with Canada / Brian Noble, in consultation with Reg Crowshoe and in discussion with the Knut-sum-atak Society
7 Protection and Repatriation of Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Cultural Resources: Perspectives of Community Members
Catherine Bell and Heather McCuaig, in consultation with the Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Tribal Council and the Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Traditional Elders Working Group
Part 2: Experiences across the Nation
8 First Nations Cultural Heritage: A Selected Survey of Issues and Initiatives / Catherine Bell, Graham Statt, Michael Solowan, Allyson Jeffs, and Emily Snyder
Part 3: Reflections on Selected Themes
9 Canadian Aboriginal Languages and the Protection of Cultural Heritage / Marianne Ignace and Ron Ignace
10 Canada’s Policy of Cultural Colonization: Indian Residential Schools and the Indian Act / Dale Cunningham, Allyson Jeffs, and Michael Solowan
11 Owning as Belonging/Owning as Property: The Crisis of Power and Respect in First Nations Heritage Transactions with Canada / Brian Noble
Concluding Thoughts and Unanswered Questions / Val Napoleon
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