Table of Contents

International Trade in Indigenous Cultural Heritage

International Trade in Indigenous Cultural Heritage

Legal and Policy Issues

Edited by Christoph Beat Graber, Karolina Kuprecht and Jessica Christine Lai

The book is unique in taking a multi-faceted approach to cultural heritage, incorporating discussion on tangible and intangible, moveable and immoveable elements of indigenous peoples’ culture. From the perspectives of several international legal fields, including trade law, intellectual property, cultural property, cultural heritage law and human rights, the book explores how indigenous peoples could be empowered to participate more actively in the trade of their cultural heritage without being compelled to renounce important traditional values. The national and local legal realities in four jurisdictions (New Zealand, Australia, United States and Canada) lay the scene for a wide-ranging analysis of various possibilities and proposals on how this might be achieved.

Chapter 11: Indigenous cultural heritage in development and trade: perspectives from the dynamics of cultural heritage law and policy

Rosemary J. Coombe and Joseph F. Turcotte

Subjects: law - academic, cultural heritage and art law, intellectual property law


The protection of cultural heritage has become a matter of great concern in the past two decades and the subject of intense policy negotiations. An emerging awareness of the complexity of issues pertaining to indigenous cultural heritage (ICH) has been one consequence of this process and has arguably shaped it, enabling scholars, activists and international policymakers to more clearly understand cultural heritage as both a source of identity and a resource for sustainable development. In these global processes of deliberation, conventional international cultural policy principles that privilege the interests and agency of long-established European nation states and their definitions of cultural heritage are increasingly challenged. New states and states assuming greater international prominence have put new issues on the cultural policy table, as have historically colonized peoples, minority groups and globally organised indigenous peoples’ movements and their advocates. The latter, in particular, have contested the propriety of state dominance in protecting, maintaining and safeguarding heritage properties, while insisting upon the distinctive role that cultural heritage plays in the constitution of their identities and their futures as distinct peoples.

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