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The Learning Portal - College Libraries Ontario

Faculty Toolkit

Protecting Indigenous Knowledge

This section supports learning about Indigenous copyright, cultural appropriation and protocols for conducting research in Indigenous communities and approaching elders for knowledge.



  • Protecting Indigenous knowledge is tied directly to First Nation beliefs of respect and protection of information for future generations.
  • It’s about stopping the appropriation of sacred knowledge, culture, or art for financial gain that doesn’t benefit First Nation communities.
  • It’s about learning how Indigenous people view their knowledge and respecting their views and protocols.
  • It’s important to know the difference between appropriation and appreciation.
  • Indigenous Nations do not see ownership as an individual right, but rather a communal responsibility.
  • Indigenous forms of ownership include communally owned property, familial-owned property, or properties held by the nation.
  • Stories like dances and songs are mostly owned. Listening to a story or tale does not provide a person with the privilege of retelling that story. If you are buying an Indigenous gift or craft, take the time to make sure that it’s authentic.
  • Responsible collaborations involve: consent, shared control, acknowledgement, respect, and reciprocity.



Documents & Websites