Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights (M3, #4)

This website explains how intellectual and cultural property rights are being protected in Aotearoa, New Zealand with the launch of the “Toi Iho” trademark. Elders and leaders of the art world and the indigenous local tribe (Maori) gathered to celebrate this innovative physical reality of an idea/passion/signifier that had been discussed in various guises by Maori for decades.

A  variety of cultural materials can be digitized including stories, legends, maps, etc. However, when digitizing cultural materials, there are important questions to consider such as: How to send a message that strengthens the holistic context of each cultural item and collection? How to ensure that both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples receive the message? How to digitize material taking into account its metaphysical as well as its digital life?

Some of the guiding principles for digitalizing contemporary cultural information include:

  1. Affirm indigenous communities as equal partners in future collaborations.
  2. Uphold cultural intellectual and property rights of communities.
  3. Ensure cultural integrity.
  4. Interpret, analyze, and synthesize information for general audiences.
  5. Require that digital libraries be developed and controlled by indigenous peoples and self-determined.
  6. Understand the importance of community-based guides [to digitization] that express tribal values.


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