Living memories and intangible heritage:
documenting oral tradition

This section proposes an approach, methodologies for consultation and collection, and tools for discovering and collecting a wealth of oral tradition while grasping cultural particularities that are intangible. Spoken words, human interest stories, and ways of being, thinking, and acting make up a large part of our cultural heritage. However, comparable to an iceberg, knowledge from oral tradition and intangible heritage is not readily apparent and therefore difficult to access without a focused interest.

A holistic and human approach to collection

The proposed approach is based on the importance of collecting different perspectives of a shared history or shared cultural heritage. It is called a holistic approach because it addresses an entire, rather than treating each component of that topic individually. The diverse views allow various realities of the same context to be revealed and thus transmit a nuanced and respectful vision of the topic. Hence, we propose various methodologies of collection and consultation that are complementary and can be adapted to the context of each research project. According to the objectives set, various combinations of collection methods may be chosen.


Expertise and knowledge have been passed down over time through memory, oral tradition. Still today, some of our Elders recall memories when they see archaeological objects, stories that were told to them by their grandparents, like my mother-in-law who was born in the 1920s. She learned a lot from her grandmother.

Claude Kistabish, Anishinabe (Algonquin)


1KAINE, Élisabeth, Jean TANGUAY et Jacques KURTNESS (2016). Voix, visages, paysages : les Premiers Peuples et le XXIe siècle, Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, p. 3.