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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 further discussion:

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)

Swirling water through rock edged forest chasm
Bag Harbour Rain Forest Stream, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, British Columbia.
© Parks Canada / D. Andrews / 10/105.03.06(37), 1996.


Last Updated: 2008-10-17 To the top
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