ICOMOS Working Groups - WG on Indigenous Heritage

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20 icomos pimachiowinakicanada De Vries Gregory W 2015Working Group on Indigenous Heritage

Focal Point: Mr Christophe Rivet, ICOMOS Canada


The Working Group on Indigenous Heritage is an international multi-disciplinary initiative that aims to better understand the different facets of Indigenous heritage.

Indeed, at the General Assembly in Delhi in 2017, ICOMOS members voted unanimously on a resolution on indigenous heritage. This resolution is in line with the objectives of the World Heritage Convention, a large number of international charters and national committees, as well as on the declaration of Nara on authenticity. Its purpose was to emphasize the need to focus on the complex dimensions of this heritage in order to better equip the organization and contribute to its protection.

The resolution emphasizes the following points:

“Recognizes that the definition and conservation of Indigenous cultural heritage requires the development of guidance that reflects the form and nature of this heritage;

Further acknowledges that the inclusion of Indigenous peoples and of their perspectives in the development of this guidance is a goal that needs to be pursued through the work of ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committees;

Resolves to set up a working group composed of ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committees members within the first year following the adoption of this resolution. The mandate of this working group is to develop guidance on the theory and best practices related to the identification and conservation of Indigenous cultural heritage. A secretariat may be hosted by one of the National Committees to support the work;

Notes that, while this working group will strive to include the leadership of Indigenous peoples from around the world, it is understood that it will not legitimately reflect all the views or impede on the rights of Indigenous peoples.”(Resolution 19GA 2017/27)

Following this resolution, a group of professionals from different backgrounds was formed to set the initiative in motion. ICOMOS Canada offered to set up a secretariat to coordinate a working group.

The immediate priorities of the group are:

  • A first emphasis on the place of indigenous heritage within the framework of the World Heritage Convention, in particular on the ability of the Guidelines guiding the implementation of the World Heritage Convention to provide adequate tools in the preparation and evaluation of indigenous values;
  • The formalization of the working group and the development of a work plan;
  • The holding of an international meeting on the subject in Canada.


Photo : Enfants Anishinaabe children on the Poplar river, Canada, 2015 © De Vries, Gregory W.  


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