Indigenous Knowledges: Local Priorities, Global Contexts

UBC Librarian Ingrid Parent is currently serving as President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and in that role she is holding her first Presidential Meeting here at the UBC Vancouver campus. The theme of the meeting is “Indigenous Knowledges: Local Priorities, Global Contexts”.

Nearly 200 participants are gathered at the First Nations Longhouse this week to explore issues related to Indigenous and traditional knowledge, its creation, organization and access, in order to better understand the local and global issues under discussion in various parts of the world and by many types of cultural, heritage, and community groups and organizations.

The program includes distinguished speakers from around the world representing many viewpoints and interests. Keynote speakers for the event are Val Napoleon, Grand Chief Ed John, and Jonathan Franklin.

Through the sharing of knowledge and experiences, the meeting is intended to advance the understanding of traditional knowledge at both the local and international levels. The results will inform the development of legal instruments, policies and practices related to the organization of Indigenous and traditional knowledge around the world.

Indigenous communities and organizations operating within the world knowledge economy have particular needs and aspirations, but often also have the additional need to reconcile developing international systems with traditional community-based practices surrounding knowledge and its development, preservation, transmission, and protection. Negotiations of the relationship between traditional and world systems can be technically complex, but also occur within social and political contexts in which relations of power are rarely equal, and are increasingly mediated by local and international agreements. We are all impacted by and have an interest in these negotiations and their outcomes.

The IFLA 2012 Presidential Program is intended to provide IFLA, its members, and all organizations and individuals, with an investigation of these issues and guidance as to how institutions and communities can work together to develop the most useful and productive relationships.

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A live webcast of the meeting is available here.