Folklorists should enable communities to research and represent their culture on their own terms through yielding authority and facilitating their investigation of the community's own heritage. Community scholar programs in the United States provide training in research, interpretation, and methods of representation. The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has carried out community-driven heritage programs in tourism, curriculum development, and the research and presentation of personal adornment. This liberatory, community-centered heritage work contrasts with some conventional approaches of cultural workers that reinforce colonialist and racist structures and the abuse of heritage by racist extremists.

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