chapter  3
28 Pages

Protecting cultural signifi ers as traditional knowledge

The argument has been made that the steel pan has folkloric origins 1 or is based in tradition, 2 although it is now part of the popular culture of Trinidad and Tobago (and arguably a part of the popular culture of the communities of Trinidad and Tobago nationals in North America and Europe). Similarly, most of the capoeira movements have been transmitted through the oral tradition or by demonstration, 3 though they have been subsequently documented and the practice has been institutionalized. Given the genealogy of popular/traditional cultural signifi ers, and the characteristics they share with traditional knowledge (namely, collective origination, cultural signifi cance, and intellectual creativity), an examination of the ways in which traditional knowledge is protected or proposed to be protected is appropriate.