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Traditional Knowledge - a Cultural Intellectual Property 

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

People find purpose in their history and heritage. A community’s stories and culture are some of the most important anchoring factors in their identity. But, these stories and culture are more important to the Indigenous people and local communities for whom an existence without heritage is like being an explorer without a map - Lost. 

This is why sustaining and celebrating cultural heritage is pivotal to ensure the growth and rootedness of every group of people. Here’s where Traditional Knowledge (TK) comes into play. 

Defining Traditional Knowledge:

By definition, it is the knowledge, know-how, skills, innovations and practices that are passed between generations, in a traditional context, and that form part of the traditional lifestyle of indigenous and local communities who act as their guardian or custodian (World Intellectual Property Rights Organization). 

Traditional Knowledge is not called so because of it being age-old or antiquity. It is a thriving and living body of knowledge that is developed, sustained and passed on for generations, helping form the cultural and spiritual identity of that community. This state of ‘living’ body of knowledge makes it difficult to put traditional knowledge in boxes and categories.