Author Topic: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"  (Read 26232 times)

weheli

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2007, 08:19:02 pm »
 I can only speak for the Cherokee and not for other Tribes. I do want to ask, are we talking about all things that is sacred or just sweetgrass? As I recall we have had this discussion before;
http://newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=580.0


                                                                         Weheli


Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2007, 09:44:56 pm »
I think we are talking about who owns Native culture generally . The article I quoted from called "Preserving Our Cultural Property" spoke extensively on Intellectual Property rights in the area of Traditonal Medicines . Sweetgrass is one of the better known Traditional Medicines , so it is easier to use as an example of something cultural that is collectively owned , and how the use of this commercially , can bring up conflicting values .

I'm not sure how potatoes got into the discusion , but I have been amusing myself thinking how they might be used as Traditional Ceremonial Sacred Smudge . LOL It'll be a while before I can buy a store bought potatoe without laughing . I guess when I'm hungry potatoes are the perfect Medicine . The thing is , I have never heard any Elder say we shouldn't buy or sell potatoes , or moose meat or blueberries .

So i am a bit lost with this rationalization of, " everything is Sacred" ,so ," everything can be bought and sold " .

I guess we all understand things differently .
« Last Edit: April 27, 2007, 09:54:51 pm by Moma_porcupine »

frederica

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2007, 01:29:46 am »
Sweet grass is also commonly used in the East to make baskets, mostly in Carolina and have seen some in Virginia. It is sold commerically also. You can buy the seeds and plants if you like. Same with Sage, which is several types, and not used much in the East. Here something on the Sweetgrass. http://www.sweet-grassbaskets.com/aboutplant.htm      frederica

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2007, 03:01:33 am »
Tansi;

I will not bother with this much more, but felt that it should be mentioned that discussions about Intellectual Property Rights extend to all things from Native Culture, including foods and Medicines, as well as stories, ceremonies and others.

As potatoes and corn were among many food items that were shared with non-natives, I think of them as contributions to modern society, by Aboriginal people. 

In our discussions about IP Rights, and in discussions with NGOs with UN status, while in Switzerland, we have spoken of the implications of IP Rights, in the introduction of products, for food or Medicine, not already in the public realm.

Some of these issues are discussed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, who publish a journal called "Non Wood News"  www.fao.org/forestry/nwfp/nonwood.htm

It may be good that M Porcupine can laugh at the contributions that our people have made to modern diet, without ensuring that proper credit is given to those who shared these ideas.

IP Rights extend, in principle, to many things from many Cultural teachings.

Ric

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2007, 04:17:25 am »
Quote
It may be good that M Porcupine can laugh at the contributions that our people have made to modern diet, without ensuring that proper credit is given to those who shared these ideas.

Ric , I didn't follow your logic about the potatoes . Your many insinuations that I am somehow stupid or the enemy for remembering what Elders told , me feels very disrespectful ,manipualtive and dishonest . As it appears people in areas surrounding yours are also conflicted over commercialization and traditional protocols , is very hard for me to believe you are not fully aware of some of these traditional protocols and the conflict around commercialization . It seems like it probably just doesn't fit into your plans to acknowledge this .

If you treat other people like you have treated me , and anyone who was taught by Elders that something shouldn't be commercialized , gets twisted around in your mind into being the enemy, or stupid , I find that more than a bit scary . Especially in conjunction with all your involvement in  promoting traditional medicine  , indiginous intellectual property rights,  and what sounds like Canadian government economic development projects  .

I'd like to say something nice , but at this point I am just at a loss for words ...
   
« Last Edit: April 28, 2007, 10:55:27 am by Moma_porcupine »

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2007, 05:08:57 pm »
I do not know exactly how I want to phrase this, so please bear with me. But I have had thoughts rolling around in my head for a few days and yesterday it kinda came together. What brought this, was I went to my mail box and in it found my new AllNative.com catalogue. This company is 100% owned by the Hochunk nation. And in it, there is sage and sweetgrass for sale. Now what this has to do with my thoghts is this: I see two different ideas here and neither in neccessarily wrong. One side says it is NEVER right to sell things like sage and sweetgrass. The other side says that it sometimes ok to do this. On the one side, I have a memory of two hippie types ripping sage from the sides of Bear Butte, obviously to take to soem nuage store and sell as Bear Butte sage, even tho the sage there was endangered. The other side to this is when I recieved some sweetgrass from a friend who used to own a store near where I live. She told me she only bought it from a group from Canada that picks and sells it to support their rehabilitation center. Her sage came from an Oregon group that used proceeds to help abused Native women. Here I want to point out that I really can't say who is right and who is wrong. It's like when I went to PIpestone. There were pipes being sold. The Lakota woman I was with was horrified by that. She felt it was NEVER correct or good or right to sell a pipestone pipe. However, when my husband spoke to the pipe makers, they told him that the pipes were only sacred after being consecrated, so they felt what they did was ok.

My point in all of this is just that NEITHER side is going to agree with the other.  Is one right and the other wrong? I don't know. What I can see clearly as wrong is the two hippies violating a sacred place. Or the white jerk who used to live near here who claimed he sold "authentic" Native art that he made. When the Indian Arts and Crafts Act was waved in his face, he whined that now no one would buy his art. He didn't even have permission from the people who's art he copied. THAT is clearly wrong. On the other side, there are many many medicines that came from indigenous peoples around the world. None of these people benefitted. Now that is clearly worng and maybe we can make changes to that some day.

frederica

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2007, 06:27:45 pm »
I agree with you Debbie, I've thought about it, and I not sure myself. I think the difference is the exploitation. Corporations like Monsanto and the Pharmacuticals have a past history of such as do individuals. But when the Nations or the Communites are trying to preserve the Indigenious plant and can make use of them to support their ecomony, it requires some thought and planning. To me, it looks like they are in the process of doing just that. Maybe good planning will decrease the exploitation. Another problem I see is I can't judge another Nations actions as I am not a member and am not there to judge the circumstances. I remember the Pipestone petitions going around the internet, and an Elder stated be careful what you do as you may put a lot of people out of work. frederica

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2007, 12:02:58 pm »
It seems contradictory to me, to be trying to protect Native traditions from irresponsible people , if on the other hand people want to employ their communities selling Sacred items used in traditional Ceremonies , to people they don't even know.

If non native people buy a ceremonial "product" they will believe they own what they bought , and they have a right to use it, whether there is an understanding of cultural responsibility or not . If something is sold , with the approval of a Native community , it was not stolen , and it isn't fair to criticize people for dabbling in Native ceremonies , if they use the items that were sold to them , incorrectly . Either you want customers or you want people to learn the Spiritual traditons in a real way . I don't think it is possible to have it both ways .

I guess , in a perfect world , ownership would be connected with the responsibility to protect , before the right to exploit . In the world today , things are set up to reward and recognize the rights of exploiters and not protectors , and it seems there is not much that can be done to stop it . At least in the short term .

Thanks for your thoughts . I appreciate your efforts to find a middle ground in a difficult topic . In the end we all have to get along with our friends , family and community even if we don't agree with something someone else is doing . I remember Elders saying things about that too . So I guess it is important to keep a perspective , and remember to keep it all in balance .

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2007, 04:54:32 pm »
Tansi;

I know that people, like M Porcupine, will not see what it is that we are working on, but I have chosen to attempt to explain why it is that we have spent several years and a great deal of time and money, in the carefully planned development of socio-economic initiatives, which include the commercial benefit of natural resources, in our region and Respect for the Self-Determination of our peoples.

Please know that I am not the one who will choose which products are marketed, these decisions will be made by community based boards, made up of the Traditional land users.   

In our Strategic Plan, we have recognized the concerns of some communities and Aboriginal groups, in relation to determination of which products are commercialized.

In the "Vision Statement" we have included the statement: "The activities of the Centre will lead to increased recognition of a more holistic approach to forest ecosystem management, and of all the values - including non-monetary values - that the forest can provide."

In Section 11, we have addressed several issues, related to the fears of commercialization of products, which communities consider unable to be sold and their right to make the choices of these, at the community level.  This section is entitled "Risk assesment and barriers to implementation." and states that "Although the risks involved in a venture of this kind are normally assumed to be primarily financial, there are other risks that must be considered as well (i.e.- divisions within the community over the commercialization of certain products).  It is also important to recognize the risks of doing nothing.  Taking no action on the opportunities outlined - in the absence of any other similarly community-based activities - does involve a risk in terms of missed opportunities for locally controlled economic development."

At present, there are a number of corporations who are purchasing products from our region, for use in the pharmacological and cosmetic industries.  This is done with no participation from either communities or Aboriginal groups. 

In Section 11-2 we have addressed the issue of potential lack of community support, in the initial stages of development.  This section reads: "For a variety of reasons, the community support necessary to make the project a success may be lacking.  The reasons for this may be a lack of understanding of the sector and the opportunities it presents (as can hopefully be addressed through the awareness raising program outlined earlier), a concern over how commercial NTFP harvesting - especially of specific resources such as medicinal herbs - can impact traditional cultural practices, or suspicion of the parties involved in leading the promotion of the sector and the Centre.  Reaching out to develop broad-based partnerships with a variety of key actors and organizations may help to address many concerns.  It should also be made clear that this is a regionally-based and controlled initiative where communities are taking the lead.  Development must respect the wishes of communities, without establishing their trust, this initiative will be doomed to failure."

As we continue to work on the planned and structured developement of this socio-economic initiative, which will ensure that communities are fairly represented in the development plans, we know that the individual contracting of people to harvest plants in our region, by corporate entities, is already creating the danger of having some of our very sensitive Medicines being commercialized, without any input from Aboriginal communities, which would be represented if we were to assert our self-determination, in creating community and locally owned businesses and co-opeatives, which would maintain control over the resource extration and choice of product development.

Judging from the amount of support that we have already received, we continue to believe that we are moving in the right direction.

Ric
« Last Edit: April 30, 2007, 05:21:40 pm by Ric_Richardson »

Lord-of-Disco

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2007, 07:04:45 pm »
Another question is, who owns knowledge?
Who owns wisdom?

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2007, 03:40:58 pm »
Hi Ric
Most of what you are doing sounds really positive , but there is something that is bothering me about IP and determining who decides what is too culturally sensitive to market .  I am sorry to be breathing down your back , but this is an important subject .

I am not sure what you mean when you talk about Traditional Knowledge in a modern economy . While you say communities will decide what products they will market , I see you have already been marketing some forms of traditional medicine.

Here is a few webpages that mention you traveling to Germany and Switzerland marketing and promoting
traditional medicine

Your own website comes up in a google search saying your business is a gateway to spiritual and physical healing ,and the advertisement for the week long medicine walk mentions the Medicine Wheel , and includes instruction on traditional plant medicines , healing circle ceremonies and traditional stories .
 
I don't see anything advertised here that crosses any obvious lines that I know of , and what you are doing wouldn't raise my concerns at all , except for the fact you seem to have BIG plans to offer marketing for "Traditional Knowledge" over a wide area . Looking at what you have been marketing so far , I am not sure what you mean when you talk about using "traditional knowledge" for a modern economy , but I haven't come across anything that mentions you are marketing value added lumber and blueberry products . You have said yourself that you intend to provide communities with
the opprotunity to market sensitive cultural products , but that they will be able to choose not to sell anything, they are uncomfortable selling .

I am concerned that if you are providing marketing opprotunities , this opprotunity will probably
encourage individuals and communities to market things that were never before commercialized , and given the opprotunity , individuals wanting to do this will put continuous pressure on their communities to agree to this . Especially if they see a neighboring community making money on something, their own community decided is too sensitive to commercialize .

It would seem really important to me , that decisions to do with protecting Spiritual traditions , are not in the hands of only a few individuals who stand to make money or loose money  . Bringing the possibility of making money into the picture , when it comes to Spiritual traditions , will reward people for irresponsible exploitation , and over time that will tend to warp things. It would seem to me , it is really important that the decision to encourge the marketing of sensitive cultural traditions ( or not ) through providing marketing opprotunities ( or not ) should be the result of a process of formal public meetings and consultation that include many Elders and traditional leaders. Did I understand you correctly that these decisions to encourage the marketing of potentially sensitive cultural traditions ,
was made by you and your wife, on the basis of your personal experince , understanding , and private meetings with people you feel might not like to be named ? If so , I have some concerns about that .
 
As the speakers in that workshop on cultural preservation and IP mentioned , traditional medicines are so interconnected with Spiritual traditions and protocols, disconnecting parts , from the whole , can lead to problems .

1. If some of the traditional protocols around traditional medicines are going to be modifed to allow commercial development , who should decide this ?

Many tribal councils are acussed of corruption . I am not suggesting this is a problem in your area specificly, but in many places there are problems , like votes being bought with drugs and alcohol . I have heard of instances of good Elders who want to clean things up ,so they get involved in politics and after a couple months , and temptations of money , they too became corrupted .  Considering all this , and this is reality , I am really uneasy with the idea of a possibly corrupt tribal council , having the power to decide to market something , that traditional protocols say should not be bought and
sold . 

Another concern is ,traditional people are often very reluctant to make a direct criticism . In Rupert
Ross's book " Dancing with a Ghost" talks about how Cree parents often get accused of neglecting their kids, because they won't tell them to come in after a certain time of night,  or to get up in the morning to go to school, or even not to do drugs , because there is such strong cultural prohibitions about interfering with another persons choices or giving unasked for advice . There was one story of a Cree woman who sat in the next room while her son committed suicide , but she didn't call 911 , because that would be interfering in his choices .

2.Considering this I am wondering what kind of community process would be in place , to assure that everyone with any concerns about commercializing a sensitve part of the culture , would speak out on this ?

3.You say the Chief of the FSIN was supportive of your plans , but i am not clear if you mean the Chief of the FSIN specifically supported creating a marketing system to encourge the commercialization of traditional medicines ?

From what was said at the 2005 workhop on cultural presevation, there was many concerns about the effect of commercialization on culture , and concerns about biopiracy were mentioned , but no one
mentioned wanting to actively pursue commercializing traditional medicines themselves , as you appear to have already been doing.
Reply #4
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations
Quote
"Vice Chief Wapass concluded his remarks by saying that in seeking to protect their traditional knowledge, First Nations people were not seeking to make money. Rather, First Nations people were trying to protect and preserve what they have, but were slowly losing."
and ;

( Chief Adams )
Quote
"There is also concern that this knowledge may be sold by some First Nations people for personal gain. He noted that there was a lot of pressure on First Nations people to promote their culture, art, traditional ways, traditional medicines and medicinal practices."
Apparently just being a First Nations person does not automatically mean it's OK to market the culture.

4.As a general question , what kind of authorization or community process should Native people have gone through , if they are using their Peoples IP in a commercial endevour ?

5.Should any Indian , or group of Indians , be able to decide to utilize or market collectively owned cultural property , in a way that other users might feel degrades the non monetary value of this cultural property ?

6.If some feel this IP , is culturally sensitive , how would a community go about coming to an agreement about what should be marketed and what shouldn't be ?

7.What about a situation where there is not a consensus about what is a culturally sensitve product ? How can something like that be decided ? Who should be listened to ? Who has a right to decide ?

8.Is there a way the uninformed non native public , who will be the customers , can assure themselves the proper consultation process has taken place , before supporting these cultural business ventures ?

9.Who selected you as a spokes person to NGOs and the UN on the IP rights of Canadas First Nations ? Did you just see a need and take this on yourself ? Do you officially speak about intellecual property rights on behalf of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council or some other First Nations ? 

Believe it or not I really hate arguing ... Just, I think these are important questions .  Like I said ,most of what you are doing looks very positive , and I hope my concerns are unfounded , and just that I am lacking all the information . Sorry about using numbers again . I am hopping they help the specific questions not get lost in my other comments . I'm also sorry my posts tend to be so long ... The issues seem so complex , and all the parts are important .

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2007, 11:14:32 pm »
Tansi;
M. Porcupine-First I would like to know how you have determined that we have been selling Traditional Medicines, when the website you refer to only speaks of our work at developing an interest, internationally in the importance of preserving our Traditional ways and developing marketing opportunities for eco-tourism and Non Timber Forest Products?

As to our own business, we do promote cultural exchanges, both with our own people and with Europeans.  I must admit that most of our contracts are with Aboriginal groups and incorporate Talking Circles, in our efforts to educate on the ways of developing Respectful dialogue, which helps in healing old wounds, especially around cross cultural issues. 

We have found that many of the plants, used by our own people for Medicines, are also used Traditionally, by other Cultures, in the Boreal regions of the world.  We have met with and hosted many people, in the Naturopathic and Herbal Practices, from different countries, and have found many similarities, in the "old" knowledge of many places such as Germany and Russia. 

You seem to have a real problem with Aboriginal people making a living, financially, from the use of our Traditional and Cultural Knowledge.  Whether comparing Non Timber Forest Products to drug dealing, or alluding to our politicians, who support this form of industry development, as being corrupt, I find your assumptions to be very disrespectful. 

It may be that you just have a low opinion of Cree Culture, since you refer to our women as not caring if our youth commit suicide.  As both my wife and I have extensively worked with Suicide Intervention and in assessment of conditions leading to this form of decision, by too many of our youth, I can attest to the fact that our community, in general, takes this very seriously and are working to deal with some of the factors that may lead to this.  One factor that continually comes up is that of disconnection from Cultural knowledge and Strength, which is one of the areas that we hope to help to heal, in developing a Non Timber Forest Product industry.

You also seem to have a problem with my Respecting the privacy of those we speak and meet with.  Probably for many of the same reasons that some people use "internet names" when they discuss anything on internet forums, I also choose not to identify Elders and groups that we meet with, until such time as we have further developed our concepts in NTFP industry development.  Even at that time, I cannot imagine some of our contacts to be willing to have their names in the public domain.  I can Respect this, and cannot understand why you, who may not be using your own legal name, in this forum, cannot.

We have sent copies of the Strategic Plan, to a variety of agencies, organizations, educational facilities, and Aboriginal organizations, in attempts to ensure that all of the issues have been considered.  As well, we discuss this with many of the Elders, and those in the Medicine Circle, in our region.  One of the reasons that we did not just create a business around NTFP's is that we want to ensure that protections are in place, including Intellectual Property Rights and local and regional controls over which plants, from our region and Cultures are chosen for entry into the market.  We do know that many of these, are already being marketed, by non-native businesses, but want to do this properly and with Respect.  In this way, we hope to ensure that our Traditional Medicines are available to our future generations and that the Traditional Knowledge is Honoured.

I came to this forum, as a way of learning and sharing.  Unfortunately, I had hoped to find Respectful dialogue.

Ekosi
Ric



« Last Edit: May 06, 2007, 11:25:00 pm by Ric_Richardson »

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2007, 01:12:16 am »
Ric
Quote
I would like to know how you have determined that we have been selling Traditional Medicines,

It would seem to be an obivous conclusion when websites
such as this one say "SHBBA Vice-President Markets Traditional Medicines abroad " an you are that vice president , or when you yourself say
"Recently, we have travelled to Germany and Switzerland to promote aboriginal eco-tourism and traditional medicine" and you have a business that involves teaching about traditional plant mecicines.

Reading this , who wouldn't conclude you were marketing traditional medicine ?

Ric
Quote
You seem to have a real problem with Aboriginal people making a living, financially, from the use of our Traditional and Cultural Knowledge.
Yes i have a real problem with individuals setting up ways to market parts of traditional knowledge BUT ONLY IF there are some Elders or traditional people who feel that the culture will be damaged by the proposed commercialization .

Why are you suprised by that Ric ? This forum isn't a forum discussing marketing stratagies for Traditional Medicine . In case you haven't noticed , it is mainly about protecting traditions form commercialization . Part of this is making sure the true internal authority of tribes and First Nations is recognized and respected . In my opinion , this internal authority cannot be a single individual who takes it upon themselves to decide these things privately .

Ric
Quote
Whether comparing Non Timber Forest Products to drug dealing,
I already explained the comparison was to how impossible it was to stop people making money , when there is an opprotunity to do this . You seem to be intentionally bending my words to mean something I was not saying .

Ric
Quote
or alluding to our politicians, who support this form of industry development, as being corrupt,

What I said is some tribal councils are accused of corruption , and I have concerns if decisions about  changing a traditional protocol to allow commercialization , is in the hands of a tribal council that traditional people say is corrupt. I have also known some completely honest and truely inspirational traditional leaders who also serve as political leaders  , but they don't always get elected the next time around .

Ric
Quote
I find your assumptions to be very disrespectful.

It seems you really want to discredit me and you twist my words around to sound like I said something disrespectful, which I didn't say. What I did say , was simply intended to be a realistic and respectful discusion of the problems of protecting sensitive cultural traditions from exploitation .

Ric
Quote
It may be that you just have a low opinion of Cree Culture, since you refer to our women as not caring if our youth commit suicide.

I didn't say this woman Rupert Ross wrote about didn't care . I never even implied that . As I remember Mr Ross's account of this situation , she was completely devastated . Rupert Ross was trying to understand why she had behaved as she had , when she obviously cared very much. ,The book was recomended to me by a Native person who works in crisis intervention for their tribe  , and it is not at all disrespectful of Cree people or their ways .

Again you try and draw attention away from the principaled discussion I am attempting to have with you , by making off the wall suggestions about my motives .

Ric
Quote
You also seem to have a problem with my Respecting the privacy of those we speak and meet with.

Again I really don't see why being involved in a public consultation processs about the protection or commercialization of traditional knowledge in your area would have to do with anyone keeping their identity private .

You really seem to have a problem understanding that it is impossible to protect Native culture and IP if anyone of Native descent can market potentially sensitive parts of the culture and IP , with no verifiable authorization .

Ric
Quote
I came to this forum, as a way of learning and sharing.  Unfortunately, I had hoped to find Respectful dialogue.

Well it looks like you found it . I am not sure why that would be unfortunate . I am really trying to be respectful and acknowledge the positive aspects of what you are doing. Yes I disagree with marketing some parts of traditional culture , and if you are involved in marketing those parts i am going to disagree with you . So what ... ?  Disagreeing with you isn't being disrespectful . And except for your stance on the sale of sweetgrass ,I am not even sure what you are up to , or if I do disagree with you .   

I don't think asking questions is being disrespectful .   

I don't feel I can do much more than that .


Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2007, 01:57:20 am »
Tansi;

My understanding of Culture, is that it is very much alive.  If things were only to be done, as they were in pre-contact times, it would be known as History.

In our Culture, we have had to learn that there are numerous changes to the way that the environment and Traditional Knowledge were used.  In our immediate area, there are timber operations, including pulp mills, sawmills and an Oriented Strand Board plant, which use over 4 million cubic metres of wood, annually.  As well, the northern part of Saskatchewan is the world's largest producer of mined uranium.  Currently, oil and gas developments are in the works to provide mostly US markets with oil from one of the most environmentally destructive ways of production.

We have recognized that many of the "other" plants that live in the forest are not being Respected, when industry comes to town.  We also know that these often are very valuable Traditionallly used plants, with a variety of uses for food and Medicine.

At the same time as billions of dollars worth of resources are taken from our Traditional territories, the majority population (Aboriginal) suffers from over 60% unemployment and extreme levels of poverty.  We also suffer from over double the national average for Cancer and extreme levels of Diabetes.  It is debateable whether the Cancer or Diabetes is related to poverty, or the industrial use of our lands. 

Over the years, our Traditional and Cultural knowledge has been suppressed and distorted.  One of the distortions that I currently hear of, is that we should not be able to sell anything related to Traditional Knowledge, for money, because money is not Tradtional.  As our Culture is alive, we have adapted to the use of money, in our daily lives and many of us work toward finding ways of incorporating Heritage, History, Tradition and Culture, into modern economic initiatives, which may help provide a better standard of living for our residents.

At this time of year, we are harvesting Black Poplar buds, for use in skin Medicine.  There are also non-native industries who are employing poor Natives, to pick these, for sale in bulk, since they are used commercially, in various cosmetics.  Throughout the year, there will be many of our Traditionally used plants harvested, with very limited benefits to local stakeholders.  As well, our people do not have a mechanism for ensuring that plants picked for commercial use, have any controls placed on them, by Traditional land users, or that Intellectual Property Rights are Respected. 

On another note, I am no longer associated with the Sask. Home Based Business Association, of which I was formerly the Vice President of, although I still hold elected office with Keyano Local #5 of the Metis Nation Saskatchewan, and am a member of the Northern Saskatchewan Trappers Association, as well as the National Aboriginal Veterans Association.

You seem to want to make it look like Rose and I are working alone, but if you were aware of the situation in Saskatchewan, other than just what is on the internet, you would likely find that we have the support of some very well Respected people, including Elders, politicians (both Native and non-native) the news media and others.  Here, Aboriginal issues and events are not always posted on the internet.

When we went to England, to promote NTFP's at the Chelsea Flower Show www.taigarescue.org/chelsea we went with two letters of introduction.  One was from the Chief and Council of the First Nation, where my grandfather was from, the other was from our province's Lieutenant Governor (the Queen's representative in Saskatchewan.)  These letters were by way of introducing us to His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, when we made a presentation at his St. James Place residence.  We wouldn't have been Honoured with that, if we were acting alone, as you have stated.

We also are in continuous contact with leaders in our Aboriginal community and with Elders and Traditional land users, who guide us, in our efforts, as I have constantly stated.

Ric


coffee_drinker

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2007, 12:42:16 pm »
Tell me to shut up if I'm wrong here. I'm pretty simple minded compared to most in here but my two cents on this subject.  Here's Ric in here, who is Indian, he's working closely with his elders and community to help his tribe find ways to conserve their timber and native plants, to make positive contributions and changes for his tribe that perhaps in the future will protect what they have from the likes of people like Exxon. I have not heard one person mention Exxon which has earned a place on survival internations top 10 list of corporate violators of native rights.  Between the El Cerrejo mine that has brought enviromental and culture devastation to the Wayau Indians, the oil spills in Alaska and other mining sites they have proposed next to many other native communitites included Wisconsin.
Then you have water companies up in michigan that have devasted the streams on Chippawa land. How many of you drink bottle water? Next time you go reach for a bottle of water at your local store research who owns that water company and find out where they are getting their water supply from.  I don't see anyone complaining about what most indians look at being sacred and that is "water". The devastation being created by major corporations to one of the most sacred things all of us have, and instead it seems to be side tracked to discuss sacred plants that are being managed in a respectful way, by indian people.
Sorry folks seems like a lot of over analyzing on something that is minor compared to who is really causing the devestation to the culture and land. Threats to native cultures are inseperable from enviromental threats.
Please don't ask me for numbers or resources, like I said I'm simple minded.