What is ICH?

What is ICH?  This is the acronym for Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“Intangible Cultural Heritage encompasses the underlying fabric of our lives –stories, skills, traditions, ways of doing things, ways of speaking, and ways of interacting with each other and the environment.  It does not always leave a material record behind, but rather is passed from person to person and from generation to generation.  It is so deeply embedded in our cultural identities that we oftentimes take it for granted.

ICH does not reside solely in the past  It is those elements of the past which continue on in the present.  As such, it informs who we are and where we hope to go.”

Simply put, this refers to the informal knowledge that flows within our communities.  From the UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, “Intangible cultural heritage includes: oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.”

Heritage Saskatchewan sponsored a two day workshop in Indian Head which Curator Chris Arnstead attended to learn about ICH.  The presenter was Dale Jarvis,  Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador assisted by Kristen Catherwood, ICH Development Officer with Heritage Saskatchewan.

What does ICH have to do with the Waskesiu Heritage Museum?  Museums can be so much more than a repository of “old stuff”.

  • Museums can document ICH and living traditions through audio and video recordings.  When you visit the museum, ask to watch one of the interviews that has been done with folks from Waskesiu about shacktenting, the boat business, memories of the golf course, the old movie projector, etc.
  • Museums ca recognize and celebrate ICH.  Watch for the museum entry in the Canada Parade on July 1.  Participate in the Children’s Festival events with a visit to our shack tent.  Join us on our annual Heritage Day to experience our heritage activities. Join us for Camp Kitchen Coffee parties to connect with the locals like Waskesiu folks have done for generations.
  • Museums can support and encourage the transmission of knowledge and skills.  What Waskesiu knowledge, skills, and traditions could we pass on to others?
    • Do you know how to knit a Cowichan or Siwash sweater?
    • What is your best way to make a s’more?
    • Do you know how to make fishing plugs from curling broom handles like Grandpa Van Impe and Mr. Roscoe Richie did?
    • Do you know the fool proof way to build a cookout fire?
    • What words are unique to Waskesiu or are used in a unique way by people here?

Are you interested in the Intangible Culture Heritage of Waskesiu?  Are you are willing to pass on knowledge or skills you have from visiting Waskesiu? Please contact us.  We would love to hear from you!



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ChrisWhat is ICH?