Grounding Indigenous Rights


Local Contexts supports Indigenous communities to manage their intellectual and cultural property, cultural heritage, environmental data and genetic resources within digital environments. Local Contexts recognizes the inherent sovereignty that Indigenous communities have over knowledge and data that comes from their lands, territories, and waters.

Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels

The TK Labels are digital markers that define attribution, access, and use rights for Indigenous cultural heritage. Twenty TK Labels have been developed through direct community partnership and collaboration. Each TK Label can be adapted and customized to reflect ongoing relationships and authority including proper use, guidelines for action, or responsible stewardship and re-use.

Biocultural (BC) Labels

The BC Labels focus on accurate provenance, transparency and integrity in research engagements. The BC Labels are digital markers that define community expectations and consent about appropriate use of collections and data. They connect data to people and environments over time. Ten BC Labels provide a practical application of Indigenous data governance principles to issues of access and benefit-sharing for genetic resources.

Local Contexts Hub

The Local Contexts Hub allows Indigenous communities to adapt TK & BC Labels to their needs and share them safely with institutions, researchers and data repositories.

Institutions &

Local Contexts also provides a new set of procedural workflows that emphasize vetting content, collaborative curation, ethical management and sustained outreach practices within institutions. For researchers, Local Contexts provides specific Notices that support the recognition of Indigenous interests and function as place-holders on collections, data, or in a sample field until a TK or a BC Label is added by the community to replace it.

Traditional Knowledge (TK) Notice

The TK Notice is a visible digital identifier applied to recognize that there could be accompanying cultural rights, protocols and responsibilities that need further attention for future sharing and use of this material.

Biocultural (BC) Notice

The BC Notice is a visible digital identifier applied to recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples define the use of information, collections, data and digital sequence information generated from the biodiversity and genetic resources associated with their traditional lands, waters, and territories.

Institution Notices

The Institution Notices are for use by collecting institutions, data repositories and organizations who engage in collaborative curation with Indigenous and other marginalized communities who have been traditionally excluded from processes of documentation and record keeping.

Local Contexts Hub

The Local Contexts Hub allows Institutions and Researchers to generate Notices and engage with Indigenous communities about the appropriate use of the TK & BC Labels.


Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Library of Congress

The Passamaquoddy Tribe in Maine has integrated their customized TK Labels to the first sound-recordings ever made on Indigenous lands in 1890. These recordings currently reside in the Library of Congress. The Passamaquoddy TK Labels have transformed the digital online record, connecting past, present and future Passamaquoddy peoples, values and protocols. Using Mukurtu CMS, the Passamaquoddy have also created their own website to tell their history and culture through Passamaquoddy terms.
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Sq’éwlets Virtual Museum

Sq’éwlets First Nation is part of the broader Stó:lō-Coast Salish people of the southern Pacific Northwest. The Sq’éwlets First Nation has incorporated the TK Labels into their Virtual Museum of Canada exhibit about Sq’éwlets culture, past and present. The Sq’éwlets customization of their TK Labels are also translated into Halq’emeylem.
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Ravenspace Publishing

RavenSpace is a digital publishing platform for media-rich, interactive books, where Indigenous communities and scholars can work together respectfully and where knowledge circulates across networks and generations. The first publication, As I Remember It – Teachings (ʔəms tɑʔɑw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder, integrates the TK Labels.
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GEOME is a metadata database for biological samples and associated genetic sequences. GEOME is testing the capacity for researchers to add TK and BC Notices as metadata for DNA sequence data.
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