What are the Labels?

The Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Biocultural (BC) Labels are tools for Indigenous communities and local organizations. Developed through sustained partnership and testing within Indigenous communities across multiple countries, the Labels allow communities to express local and specific conditions for sharing and engaging in future research and relationships in ways that are consistent with already existing community rules, governance, and protocols for using, sharing, and circulating knowledge and data. 

Labels can be applied to websites, publications, datasets, museum exhibitions, items in a collection, genetic samples, and more. Communities can customize and apply their TK and BC Labels using the Local Contexts Hub.

Traditional Knowledge Labels

The Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels identify and clarify community-specific rules and responsibilities regarding access and future use of traditional knowledge.

Biocultural Labels

The Biocultural (BC) Labels define community expectations about the appropriate use of biocultural collections and data.

The TK and BC Labels are grouped into three categories: 

  • Provenance Labels identify the group or subgroup which is the primary cultural authority for the material, and/or recognizes other interests in the material.
  • Protocol Labels outline traditional protocols associated with access to this material and invite viewers to respect community protocols.
  • Permission Labels indicate what activities the community has approved as generally acceptable. Other uses require direct engagement with primary cultural authorities.

What is the purpose of the Local Contexts Labels?

Local Contexts Labels support Indigenous sovereignty. By customizing Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Biocultural (BC) Labels, Indigenous communities can embed their local and traditional protocols for how their data is used, displayed, managed, and accessed going forward into data infrastructures.

Because the Labels can be attached to many diverse projects, the customized Label should be broad enough so it can be used across multiple projects without needing to be customized for each project.

How are Labels customized by Indigenous communities?

The Labels contain three main parts that can be used in different display scenarios.

TK Label Icon

TK Attribution (TK A)

TK Label Title

This Label is being used to correct historical mistakes or exclusions pertaining to this material. This is especially in relation to the names of the people involved in performing or making this work and/or correctly naming the community from which it originally derives. As a user, you are being asked to also apply the correct attribution in any future use of this work.

TK Label Description

The Label Icon

The Icons have been designed by Local Contexts to be identifiable and may not be altered. This is to protect the integrity and international identification of the Labels for every community that uses them.

The Label Title

The Labels each have a unique title text and an abbreviated code, and appear in the format “TK Attribution (TK A)” or “BC Provenance (BC P)”. Communities are encouraged to translate the Label title into their own language(s)/dialects.

The Label Description

Communities are encouraged to customize the Label template text.

Decision Making

Using the Labels requires community decision-making. Each family, clan, or community will have different processes and frameworks for decision-making. Some communities are in the process of establishing cultural authorities, intellectual property committees, or policies to help make decisions about a range of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property issues facing their community. The decision-making processes for using these Labels should be established before you choose which Labels will suit your needs. The Indigenous Community Working Group is a great space to hear how others have gone through this process. Please reach out to the Local Contexts team to join this group or with any questions.

Labels in Use