The UNESCO declares that there are two approaches to preserve cultural heritage: one is to record it in a tangible form and conserve it in archives; the other is to preserve it in a living form by ensuring its transmission to the next generations.

The establishment of the IKAT Institute is in response to both approaches. The Institute does not only focus on the transmission of indigenous skills and techniques to the young but also aims to encourage culture specialists/masters to continue with their own work, develop and expand the frontiers of that work, and train younger people to take their place in the future.

The program for the establishment of the IKAT Institute is also anchored on the mandate of NCCA to: (1) conserve and promote the nation’s historical and cultural heritage by encouraging and supporting the study, recognition and preservation of endangered human cultural resources such as weavers, chanters, dancers and other craftsmen, as well as the conservation and development of such artistic, linguistic and occupational skills that are threatened with extinction; and (2) preserve and integrate traditional culture and its various creative expressions as a dynamic part of the national cultural mainstream by helping set up or encourage, monitor and subsidize companion systems at the regional, provincial and local levels, intended to develop traditional cultures such as arts/crafts centers, preferably in community settings apart from the usual museum settings, where exponents of living arts and crafts can practice and teach their art and enrich contemporary designs.

SMU as an academic community has the moral obligation through the Indigenous Knowledge and Tradition Institute to respond to the preservation, promotion and protection of the IPs’ indigenous knowledge, systems and practices and ensuring their ownership of it. It is through this modest effort of the university that Indigenous Peoples are empowered and de-marginalized and thereby they may better enjoy and share the potentially wide range of benefits that stem from their indigenous knowledge, systems and practices.