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Indigenous Studies

Indigenous Studies is an interdisciplinary field grounded in the languages, histories, geographies, and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples

Indigenous Intellectual Property

Indigenous Intellectual Property: Overview

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.

Indigenous Intellectual Property: Web Resources

  1. Position Statement: Indigenous Knowledge in Canada's Copyright Act
  2. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Intergovernmental Committee 
  3. Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis People of Canada
  4. CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance

Indigenous Intellectual Property: Streaming

  1. Navigating Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property - 5min - World Intellectual Property Organization Youtube

Please visit our Criminology Library Guide for further resources.


Book cover: Elements of Indigenous style: a guide for writing by and about Indigenous peoples
Book cover: Indigenous people's innovation : Intellectual property pathways to development
Book cover: Indigenous knowledge systems and intellectual property in the twenty-first century : perspectives from southern Africa
Book cover:Property rights, indigenous people and the developing world : issues from aboriginal entitlement to intellectual ownership rights
Book cover: International law and indigenous knowledge : intellectual property, plant biodiversity and traditional medicine
Book cover: Beyond intellectual property : toward traditional resource rights for indigenous peoples and local communities
Book cover: Protection of First Nations cultural heritage: laws, policy, and reform