This Traditional Knowledge (TK) Primer will provide an overview for First Nation communities to understand the importance of developing mechanisms for the protection, sharing and formal recognition of their Traditional Knowledge systems; within their own communities and externally with governments, industry and others. This level of participation recognizes First Nations inherent rights, their constitutional and their treaty rights. However, inherent rights and treaty rights on their own are not enough, the roles and responsibilities of how TK will be protected, promoted and preserved are essential for community sustainability now and in the future.
This follows the concern that Traditional Knowledge is disappearing as it is not being practiced, languages are at risk and polices and legislation (are being) developed without input from First Nations. It also follows the concern that without Traditional Knowledge protection and sharing mechanisms in place, First Nations will continue to be excluded in Canada-First Nations management strategies i.e. health, water, education, environment, justice, etc. that impact their communities.
First Nations have demanded that Traditional Knowledge be included in governance (internally and externally) and require supportive and financial resources to fully participate in the development and implementation of local, provincial and federal strategies for TK inclusion.
If history has taught us anything, we as First Nations need to be aware and involved in the protection and preservation of our Traditional Knowledge. It is not out of disrespect to those seeking our knowledge, but out of respect for our ancestors who protected our knowledge, left us the teachings and for our future generations who will need that knowledge to continue as sustainable people of this land. The literature reviewed for this primer focused on TK in the area of the Environment and Water protection. However, this TK Primer is intended to encompass a broader framework that is inclusive and accessible rather than exclusive.
The First Nation TK Primer will consider what is TK, how TK can be shared and protected, and the role of TK in community decision-making (internally) and decision-making (externally). It will look at Intellectual Property rights, the challenges of TK sharing and protection and future directions. Finally, this TK Primer will provide information on ways to share and protect Traditional Knowledge while strengthening and reconnecting communities to their own Traditional Knowledge systems.