An Approach to Aboriginal Cultural Landscapes
Definition of Aboriginal Cultural Landscapes
What definition is now proposed for Aboriginal cultural landscapes?
Based on the literature and the consultation to date, the following definition is proposed for consideration and
An Aboriginal cultural landscape is a place valued by an Aboriginal group (or groups) because of their long and
complex relationship with that land. It expresses their unity with the natural and spiritual environment. It embodies
their traditional knowledge of spirits, places, land uses, and ecology. Material remains of the association may be
prominent, but will often be minimal or absent.
It is to be recognized that other people than the associated group (or groups) may also have used these landscapes
and may attach values to them. The experience in the Americas has particularly shown that the rapidity of waves of
immigration and the diversity of cultures they have introduced have significantly shaped the cultural landscape. The
result has been not so much a layering of cultures and uses as a concurrence of cultures and uses, all of which are
recognized to have validity. (US/ICOMOS, 1996)
Bag Harbour Rain Forest Stream, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, British Columbia.
© Parks Canada / D. Andrews / 10/105.03.06(37), 1996.