Promoting aboriginal culture in a global age

For a long time, aboriginal heritage, both material (religious objects, totems, tools, etc.) and non-material (practices, knowledge, savoir-faire, etc.), has been beyond the control of aboriginal peoples. However, cultural institutions are providing increasing support to aboriginal peoples in the constitution and management of their cultural heritage. In addition, "glocalization", involving the integration of the local into the global rather than the opposite, requires us to take another look at the promotion of aboriginal culture in the many countries where these peoples are found. 

The Groupe d'étude sur la patrimonialisation des biens culturels autochtones (Study Group on the Heritage Status of Aboriginal Cultural Property) is endeavouring to identify and understand the various methods for promoting aboriginal culture both here and elsewhere, in order to develop a theoretical framework adapted to globalization and epistemological tools applicable in all countries. This new knowledge will help with the elaboration of a new protocol for the promotion of cultural property. 

The activities of the study group are described on their website, which has a discussion group allowing members to share their experience and expertise. Communication also lies at the heart of the group's activities, as a result of the transnational nature of its work. In fact, its director, Daniel Arsenault, undertook an international tour in autumn 2010 in order to meet in person with his European, Oceanian and North American collaborators. The members of this study group presented their research during the Congress of Canadian Learned Societies in Montreal and the international conference World Heritage and Tourism: Managing for the Global and the Local in Quebec City. 

The study group collaborates with UNESCO and will have the occasion to exhibit its work during a UNESCO workshop taking place in Paris in April 2011. The group produced a bilingual collaborative book entitled Trouver l'esprit du lieu dans les sites du patrimoine mondial – Perspectives aboriginals / Finding the Spirit of the Place in World Heritage Sites:Aboriginal Approaches in Perspective (Les Presses de l'Université Laval) in 2010.


Groupe d'étude sur la patrimonialisation des biens culturels autochtones


Daniel Arsenault, Université du Québec à Montréal

Regular members

  • Yves Bergeron, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Daniel Chartier, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Laurier G. Turgeon, Université Laval