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Cultural Heritage and Patrimony

The term cultural patrimony refers to that part of a national, tribal, or other society's culture, which is so fundamental to the society's identity and character that people deem it inalienable. The term embraces tangible historic or archaeological sites and objects as well as intangible phenomena, such as folklore, rituals, language, and craft skills. It is often associated with the broader term cultural heritage; the narrower terms cultural objects or cultural material, which exclude intangible heritage; and the more technical legal term cultural property, which indicates ownership.

One definition of the term cultural patrimony appears in the (U.S.) Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, 25 U.S.C. § 3001 (2000), as

an object having ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native American ...
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