Line 3 IAMC Indigenous Knowledge Definition

The Line 3 Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC) is a partnership between the Government of Canada and Indigenous Nations that are potentially impacted by Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program (L3RP). As mandated in the Committee’s Terms of Reference, the IAMC seeks to “facilitate the integration of Indigenous Knowledge, teachings, values, use of the land, oral traditions and worldviews into the monitoring, regulation, compliance, mitigation, remediation, and performance for the lifecycle of the L3RP” (Section 2.1).

To support this mandate, the Committee created the Indigenous Knowledge Subcommittee with the vision of ensuring that Indigenous Knowledge is adequately represented in IAMC programs, operations, and advice. To accomplish this, the subcommittee’s first task was to develop a working definition of Indigenous Knowledge as it relates to the Committee’s work.

In developing the definition, the Committee referred to many current definitions, resources, and scholarship, as well as the Committee’s Terms of Reference. The list of source material can be found here.

The Committee affirms that the following definition is living, adaptable, and dynamic, and varies from Nation to Nation. We welcome your feedback on the definition, and would like to know if it matches your Nation’s definition. You can send any questions or comments to the Indigenous Knowledge Subcommittee at


The following definition represents the Committee’s current understanding of Indigenous knowledge and is intended to be a living description subject to change based on the Committee’s ongoing learning, experiences and interactions with Indigenous Nations, peoples and territories.

The Committee is of the opinion that when Indigenous knowledge and Western knowledge systems are applied equally, the two systems compliment one another and lead to better outcomes.


Indigenous Knowledge is a body of knowledge gathered by a group of people – First Nations, the Métis Nation, and communities through generations of living in close contact with their environment. It includes distinct knowledge and perspectives as well as ways of thinking, acting, living, and relating to lands, waters, and the environment. Indigenous Knowledge systems are transmitted through various means, including songs, oration, community laws, common or collective property and inventions, practices and rituals. Knowledge is often transmitted through designated community knowledge holders, such as Elders.

It is living, cumulative and dynamic and may include unique perspectives regarding other kinds of knowledge. It builds upon the contemporary and historic experiences of a Peoples and their continued use of the land. It adapts to social, economic, environmental, spiritual and political change and can help anticipate possible future conditions.

Indigenous Knowledge must be understood to form a part of a larger integrated and holistic body of knowledge that encompasses knowledge about cultural, environmental, economic, political, social and spiritual inter-relationships. The Indigenous Knowledge of each Indigenous person and Indigenous Nation is unique as a result of unique experience, teachings, histories, and relationships to particular environments.

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