Author Topic: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"  (Read 19031 times)

Offline Barnaby_McEwan

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'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« on: September 16, 2005, 06:26:29 pm »
The first two segments of this  Wisconsin Public Radio[/url] program feature Cherokee stoyteller Gayle Ross, Spokane writer Sherman Alexie and anthropologist Michael Brown. You'll need RealPlayer to listen to it. Brown's written a book [/url] of the same title. His accompanying website[/url] lists Trisha's site[/url] as one of many excellent resources.

I loved Sherman Alexei's acidic remarks about newagers!

Offline educatedindian

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2005, 08:36:23 pm »
"From Choice, April 2004. Toward the end of his book, Brown (anthropology, Williams College) points to a compelling paradox: 'Advocates of the indigenous 'we own our culture' perspective find themselves in the odd position of criticizing corporate capitalism while at the same time espousing capitalism's commodifying logic.'"

I heard this same argument in the Swedish book you showed me, Barnaby. I think both her and Brown are using a deliberate semantic argument to try and get Native rights people to go away in court.

Ownership=capitalism? Since when? Native traditions about ownership extend to owning land communally, by tribe, clan, or family, or to individual usufruct rights or individual rights to fallow land. Brown is guilty of falling for a romanticized image of Natives himself.

People in socialist countries don't own their clothing, cars, or even homes? I know in Cuba, perhaps one of the last two country to still claim to be dedicatedly Communist, most people own their own homes.

I don't see any sign of Lakota leaders wanting control over Bear Butte (Devil's Tower) so they can charge admission to white mountainclimbers. I don't know of any Hopi spiritual leaders offering Black Mesa for sale. Brown and others are confusing control over sacred sites and cultural property with buy-and-sell capitalism.

The only Natives I see trying to infuse the capitalist mindset with Native traditions are ceremony sellers.

But I do agree with him that the courts are often notthe best solution, esp given the rightward slant of US courts these past couple decades.

Offline Barnaby_McEwan

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2005, 09:26:06 pm »
Quote
"From Choice, April 2004. Toward the end of his book, Brown (anthropology, Williams College) points to a compelling paradox: 'Advocates of the indigenous 'we own our culture' perspective find themselves in the odd position of criticizing corporate capitalism while at the same time espousing capitalism's commodifying logic.'"

Ownership=capitalism? Since when? Native traditions about ownership extend to owning land communally, by tribe, clan, or family, or to individual usufruct rights or individual rights to fallow land. Brown is guilty of falling for a romanticized image of Natives himself.


That struck me as odd, too. I have to admit I haven't read his book. I mentioned it because he was in the program and he's mentioned Trisha's site on his book's site.

Quote
I don't see any sign of Lakota leaders wanting control over Bear Butte (Devil's Tower) so they can charge admission to white mountainclimbers.


He talked about Bear Butte in the interview but didn't try to misrepresent the tribes' point of view in that way, though I guess many would disagree with his opinion that removing tourists from the area cannot happen because it would be 'unconstitutional'.

Anyway, I was much more interested in what Gayle Ross and Sherman Alexie had to say.

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2005, 04:39:04 pm »
Tansi;

The topic of "Intellectual Property Rights" is one that is often discussed, in our work with Traditionally used plants.  It has also reached the UN's Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, and is a difficult issue to deal with.

I believe that our Culture has given us Traditional Knowledge, in order to help us to survive in an ever changing world.  When I see Traditionally used plants being sold, in the international market, it is usually by non native businesses.  I would like to see Aboriginal businesses developed to incorporate Traditional Knowledge in a Modern Economy.

The growing interest in Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) is one area where Aboriginal people can take leadership in sharing our Traditional Knowledge, in an economically viable manner and in a way that will encourage a cultural exchange, which may help us all to understand our differences and our similarities.
Respectfully
Ric

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2007, 04:32:39 pm »
I found an interesting article on intellectual property ( IP ) rights in relation to Aboriginal people in Canada .

It sounds like the concerns are mostly about how the capitalist world view , will affect indiginous cultures , and not so much that Native Elders are wanting the right to capitalize upon traditional knowledge , in a monetary sense .

Looks like this workshop took place in your neck of the woods Ric .

One obvious question raised , which comes up often in NAFPS , is what can be done if one or a few
indiginous people decide to capitalize on traditional knowledge , without respect to traditional protocols , when this knowledge is owned collectively by the whole tribe and by future generations , and when many other tribal members feel this is wrong .

Obviously if any American , or small group of Americans , could decide to ignore the feelings of other Americans and sell the resources in the National Parks to China , the National Parks would be clear cut and strip mined very quickly .   

People can read the whole summery through the link , but , I notice links to on line information tend to go dead after a while , so I wanted to copy out some parts , so we would have them here.

I have used BOLD type to emphasize a few points I thought might be most relevent to some of the discussions we have here.

http://www.canadianheritage.gc.ca/progs/ac-ca/progs/pda-cpb/pubs/our_culture_2005/index_e.cfm

Preserving Our Cultural Property: A Workshop on Intellectual Property and the Preservation of Our Culture

First Nations University of Canada
Saskatoon Campus
710 Duke Street
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
March 3 and 4, 2005

Summary of Workshop Proceedings
-------
Opening Remarks

"Mr. Scott stated that the reason for this workshop was to discuss how to protect their culture and traditional way of life. He noted that some aspects of First Nations culture were being used inappropriately such as ideas from First Nations culture being commercialized without the consent of the relevant community."
-------
Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (SICC)

"Mr. Morin noted that IP and cultural knowledge was being misused, exploited, sold and used in every which way. Mr. Morin stated that First Nations people have a responsibility to share information in order to better protect the knowledge of the Elders, and to pray to the Creator that First Nations people learn the knowledge and that non-First Nations and individuals discontinue using it."

"Mr. Albert Scott noted that companies and institutions increasingly seek out the traditional knowledge of First Nations communities in order to create new products for the global marketplace. He suggested that consumers were demanding natural products, and the tourism and cultural industries were becoming increasingly aware of the value of First Nations people in terms of their traditional practices and ways of life. According to Mr. Scott, the variety, beauty, and novelty of First Nations symbols, designs, and textiles are attracting commercial interests. He also stated that First Nations people needed to protect their knowledge and their cultures in order to pass it down to future generations and to contribute to the welfare of their communities."
----------------------
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations

"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."

"Chief Wapass stated that as an educator, who has taken part in conferences, powwows and round dances across North America, he has listened to Elders and others speak on what First Nations people must do to survive as First Nations people. He noted that university institutions are researching Aboriginal medicines, for example. For Vice Chief Wapass, the question that comes to mind is what is guiding the research process in order to ensure that First Nations medicines were not being exploited, and to ensure that First Nations people won’t have to buy or obtain a government permit to gather their own medicines in the future."

"Vice Chief Wapass stated that he did not see himself as a keeper or owner of traditional knowledge, but as someone who helps to preserve the knowledge in order to pass it on to future generations."
------------
Dene Intellectual and Cultural Property Traditions and Protocols

"Chief Adams noted that his Elders had predicted that some day people would go after what was in their minds."

"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."


"Chief Adams concluded his presentation by saying that the loss of indigenous knowledge is going on right now and First Nations people will end up being a people without ownership of their own knowledge. We have to watch out that this doesn’t happen."
----------
Cree Intellectual and Cultural Property Traditions and Protocols

"Mr. Sanderson noted that First Nations people live in a world where the dollar frames the worldview. First Nations people need to pass on to the next generation the knowledge that has been preserved by the Elders. One person cannot do this. Rather, it would need the collaboration of the entire community."

--------------
Nakawe Intellectual and Cultural Property Traditions and Protocols

"Mr. Scott stated that Nakawe protocols are not written down. By listening to the Elders and taking part in ceremonies you can perhaps one day become an elder yourself and help your community. Without proper protocols First Nations people will mislead each other, so it was important that people learn the protocols of their community. Mr. Scott said that he did not want to find a bear song, a rain dance song or other ceremonial songs on the Internet. He did not want to anger any tribes or bands that may have recorded their culture in order to preserve it. First Nations people did not do this prior to the coming of the Europeans. Mr. Scott stated that he believed in using traditional ways in order to preserve First Nations culture. In Nakawe country there are protocols that must be followed. There are no short cuts.12 If you take credit for something and try and make money from it, you are placing yourself and your loved ones in jeopardy if you don’t pay for it."

( I am assuming he means "pay for it " in the traditional sense with the proper traditional protocals , as his whole point is the importance of respecting these protocols )

He goes on to say ;

"Mr. Scott concluded his presentation by saying that his people were trying to do their best through the schools and by trying to persuade his people to take part in ceremonies. He again said that some things should not be used to make money. He called on members of the workshop to follow their traditions and their protocols because this was what First Nations people were given to use and to communicate."

----------------------
 
"The presentation on trade-marks generated a great deal of discussion regarding the inappropriate and/or offensive use by those outsiders of symbols and words traditionally belonging to First Nations. Some Elders expressed the concern that using IP tools like trade-marks encourages individual ownership and economic exploitation of sacred or culturally significant symbols and terms. In their view, this clashed with the traditional values and customs of their communities and contributed
to the erosion of their traditions.
"
-----
"A participant noted that some people in his community were upset when a First Nations entrepreneur created a new brand of cigarettes that used the image of a pipe as part of the packaging."
------
"A participant noted that naming a car after Jesus would likely offend many people, including many First Nations people. Yet manufacturers are allowed to name their products after sacred symbols (e.g. Thunderbird) or the name of a great chief (e.g. Pontiac, Tecumseh). The participant also noted that Elders have expressed concerns over the use of sacred symbols such as sweet grass on commercial products."
-------
"A speaker noted that the acquisition and transfer of knowledge are sacred kinds of things. The holder of knowledge is viewed as having a responsibility to ensure that the recipient of the knowledge does not abuse that knowledge, otherwise there may be negative consequences for the holder of the knowledge and his family. That is why you cannot -deal, for example, with traditional medicine in the same way as medicine purchased in a drugstore. The speaker suggested that this difference is perhaps based on the different perceptions of First Nations and non-First Nations people as to what may be considered sacred. For some First Nations people the concern is that if you disclose information about First Nations medicines you are, in effect, misusing the medicines and they would cease to be effective."


« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 05:02:03 pm by Moma_porcupine »

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2007, 06:37:08 pm »
Tansi;

I have become aware of this conference, (which I was not invited to nor advised of) and understand many of the concerns that were brought up.

We know that universities and other researchers are studying our Traditional Medicines, with the supposed intent of commercializing them.  This is only one of the reasons that our Strategic Plan has included issues related to protocol and community choice, in determining which products, from our lands, become marketable.  This is also why our planned development includes community owned and operated businesses and co-operatives.

We continue to believe that there are many plants, which can be used commercially to support our highly unemployed and under-employed communities, in our region.  One of our fears is that these products will become available (and already are) with no recognition given to those Aboriginal people who "own" the Traditional knowledge of them.

There is another international conference upcoming, in May which I will attend, in order to further explore the commercial interests, involved in the use of Traditional knowledge, in a modern economy.

http://www.saskherbspice.org/tradition_to_technology/index.htm

Hope this helps.
Ric

« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 06:42:46 pm by Ric_Richardson »

frederica

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2007, 11:04:57 pm »
I heard some conversation a few years ago about something like this. An individual tribal member in Alaska took a story, which is owned rightfully by the Tribe and published it. But the individual received the payment not the Tribe or Clan. Most thought it was wrong, but really was little that could be done after the fact. Most of the "stories" on the internet are rewritten, some toned down for commerical use. We have never relied on what they call "Intellectual Copyrights", to preserve Traditiional knowledge. And for good reason of not wanting the Feds involved. It's a dilemma. frederica

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2007, 01:25:44 am »
Tansi;

I think that I should make it clear that our efforts to develop a Non Timber Forest Product industry is only about using products, from our region and Cultures, in value added ways which would allow local economies to develop.  The selling of ceremonies or stories is not the focus for our efforts!

In recent court cases, the government has now realized that they must consult with Aboriginal people, in order to plan for increased logging or other uses of our Traditional lands.  Yesterday, I hosted a government official (also Aboriginal) who was interested in consultation related to Aboriginal Rights and the effects that increased logging, by Weyerhauser, would have on these.

We can see, in the north, that there is a need to use Traditional Knowledge in a Modern Economy, especially since many of our youth are not learning about their Cultural Knowledge, due to not being able to make a living from it.  Instead, they must leave their communities, to learn technical skills needed for work in the only jobs available, uranium mining, logging and oil and gas developments. 

In meetings today, with a representative of the local Tribal Council, we were able to discuss the level of interest in Non Timber Forest Product development, in the communities and difficulties in dealing with government about this.  Especially since there already exists an "underground" seasonal economy, mostly in berries and mushrooms, we believe that the development of a structured Non Timber Forest Product industry would be able to create more and fair benefits to harvesters and those with Traditional Knowledge.

Traditionally the trade in products from different areas was well established, which is why we have pipestone, from Minnesota, being found in archeological digs, as well as trade routes extending into British Columbia, Ontario and the present USA. 

The occasion of conferences, in Saskatchewan, related to NTFP's is evidence that the multi-national business community is quite interested in our resources.  We must position ourselves to be able to benefit from these developments, by producing the value-added products ourselves, instead of only harvesting for the corporations, with the limited benefits of selling raw materials.

Ekosi
Ric

 

« Last Edit: April 26, 2007, 01:29:34 am by Ric_Richardson »

frederica

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2007, 03:07:35 pm »
Ric. Sounds very good, and good luck. You and the Council have a job on their hands just keep it equitable in your dealings with large Corporations and the Government, let alone trying to protect Tribal rights and Traditions. frederica

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2007, 08:58:56 pm »
Hi Ric
I wasn't really intending to turn this thread into a discussion of your particular business , but as you bring it up , I guess your business might be a good example of some general principals .

I absolutely love blueberries , and I admire your determination to create a better economic environment in your community through creating sustainably harvested , value added products. I would imagine there are many possibilities , such as wooden furniture, toys , recreational equipement , leather goods from hides , traditional foods , ect .

You have also many times mentioned finding ways to integrate Tradional Medicine into a modern economy . As we have already discussed , there is conflicting opinions in many Native communities around the commercialization of at least one of these Traditional Medicines  ( sweetgrass ) , and after seeing the report posted above,  apparently these concerns extend to other Traditional Medicines as well .

A few times you have mentioned what sounds like a group of people in your area , having made a Plan which has carefully considered traditional protocol and community choice .

1. I am curious who exactly this group of people is ? Were there a number of community Elders involved in the descion process  and , would you be able to tell us the names of the Elders and tribal leaders who are guiding and supporting  the commercial development of Traditonal Medicine  , in your area ?

2.  Who was the tribal council representive you just mentioned , and what tribe do they represent ?

3. Do these tribal representives and Elders support all aspects of your activities , or is there some differing opinions on some of them ?

I have noticed that in our past discussions on this issue, you have not once acknowledged that there are any traditional people who are not comfortable with the sale of Sweetgrass , and instead you insist sweetgrass has always been traded , and commercializing this is respecting traditional protocols 

4. Have you ever heard traditional people and Elders say that Sacred plants that are used in ceremony such as sweetgrass should not be sold ?

5. Were there any Elders or traditional people in your community who did not support your commercializing some of the Traditional Medicines you are commercializing ? 

6. If these medicines were always traded for profit  how do you explain the Elders who are upset to see this sold , and the many traditional people who feel this is wrong ?   

I know traditional people are often reluctant to directly critize or confront someone if they don't agree with what they are doing .

7.I am wondering if Elders in your area were uncomfortable with the commercialization of some Traditional Medicines , how would you know this ?

8.Would you be told directly ?

9. If you have heard objections from some Elders and traditional people , with regards to commercializing some Traditional Medicine , but other Elders and traditional people felt this was OK ,  how would you decide who to listen to ?

10. If Native people in other areas do not agree with the sale of some traditional medicines , that might be sold in their traditional territories , how will you accomadate these concerns ?   

I really don't know much about the details of traditional protocols , and maybe this is different in different areas , but , the trading of Medicines I have seen , has always been informal exchanges after a ceremony or a during a visit , and in this way Medicines get evenly distributed so everyone has what they need .

In reply #11 , in the thread discussing the sale of Sweetgrass , you did mention that you feel it is   
appropriate to gift the Ceremony leaders with money , so they could obtain things they could not trade for .  In reply #31 , you mentioned that you felt it was traditional to trade for Traditional Medicines long before non native influnece .

11. Are you saying that in your area Traditional Medicines used to be traded for a set fee , for profit ?     
12.If you believe Traditional Medicines were aquired with trade goods and Ceremonial leaders were traditionally compensated with trade goods, how do you see charging a set fee for Traditional Medicines , or for a Traditional Ceremony as being substantially different ?

I do understand what you are saying about a lot of these Medicines being harvested and sold commercially anyways . I also understand that when many Native communities are loosing the struggle to stop the drug trade , the problem of people selling some of the better known Traditional Medicines without the traditonal protocols , probably seems like a small battle , that was lost a couple decades ago . Maybe you are right and people being able to make a bit of money is more important . In some situations of desparate need , I can easily agree this would be true .

I don't mean to be disrespectful . I'm just not clear who exactly in your community , has decided what Traditional Medicines and practices can be used for economic development , and which ones can't be , and how this decision was arrived at  .

How these descisions can be made in a respectful way , and who has the authority to make them , is the topic of this thread , so your communities experinece in this would be interesting .

I know this is a long list of questions , but as you frequently promote your idea of integrating Traditional Medicine into a modern economony I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to answer them all . I've asked some of them before , but you did not respond . I guess it isn't always clear what I am asking . I hope all these numbers helps ... I don't mean to be rude .
« Last Edit: April 26, 2007, 10:28:14 pm by Moma_porcupine »

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2007, 04:14:52 am »
Tansi;

First, I should tell you that we do not have a "business" in this area yet, as we are still in the developmental stage.  Second, I have spoken about the use of Traditional Knowledge, Products and Values, in a modern economy.  Third, our people consider all plants and many other things, as Medicine. 

In response to your questions, I am unable to answer some of these, but will try to respond to all of them, as I have always done.  It is unfortunate that I am not able to give a history lesson, or one on the protocols, in our region, which of course will impact your ability to understand the conditions and situations in our region.

1.  The group of people are my wife and I, who have financed the development of this concept, so far and only recieved government support to partially fund the Strategic Plan.  However, we have been regular participants in the International Gathering of Traditional Medicines and Healing, for many years, during which time, I make tea and discuss many of these concepts with many of the Elders present.  Visiting with many Traditional land users and meeting with people in the berry picking areas has also contributed to an understanding of the support that exists for this concept.   After years of discussion, both with these Elders and with Elders and community leaders throughout our region, we contracted the services of Royal Roads University's Centre for Non Timber Resources, to write the Strategic Plan, which was completed in Sept. 2006.  I do have the right to tell you my name, but do not have the right to interfere with the privacy of those people who we speak with. 

2. I should explain that the term "Tribal Council" has apparently a different meaning, than wherever you are from.  The Meadow Lake Tribal Council is made up of 9 First Nations, in our region, which include Dene and Cree people.  I am in regular meetings with many there, but met with the Agricultural coordinator the other day, as he has been delegated to pursue this.  We have also consulted with many Metis Traditional land users and local Presidents, in our region.

3. Every Elder or First Nation representative that we have met with support our concept, especially since each community will determine, through their own methods, which products will be used in commercial enterprise.  We do not use the term, "Tribe" but we have had positive meetings with many First Nations Chiefs, including the Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, who represents the majority of First Nations, in Saskatchewan and who is very supportive of these efforts.  There are a number of Medicines, which are considered too sensitive to commercialize, as we ourselves know, and that we understand will not be made available to the market. 

4. Yes and no, since most ceremonial leaders, in our area have access to Sweetgrass, but do purchase tobacco and prints, which are used in ceremonies also.  The sale of Sweetgrass is quite common, in our region.

5. No.

6. It depends on what you consider profit.  In the past, as well as now, gifting is also a competitive practice, which often leads to a deliberate attempt to show that one can give more than they received.  It is not uncommon for someone to be given horses or even automobiles, when they have provided assistance with health and healing.

7 and 8.  Yes we would know, since the moccasin telegraph is still working very well, here. As well, we would be told directly.

9. As previously stated, each community would determine which products are made available to the market, using their own protocols.

10. We do not anticipate this happening, but would definitely be open to a dispute resolution process.

11. Traditionally, there was no set price, but Honour would dictate that appreciation was recognized.  It would be very good if everyone used Respect and Honour, but we do not anticipate that, so will collectively determine Fair Trade standards, ensuring that the Traditional Knowledge, as well as the labour and expenses are recognized as having value, in setting prices.

12. As previously stated, Traditionally, Honour and Respect were the guides in trade.  I have never supported a set fee for ceremony, since those that would be involved with these, would understand, or be taught the proper protocols.  I do take offense that you would try to slip that one in!

I also find it very disrespectful for you to try to equate the sale of Non Timber Forest Products, with the drug trade, which has had very devastating effects on my family, my community and my region.

I can only assume that you reside in an area, in which Aboriginal people are in the minority, unlike here where we form the majority population.  Unfortunately, we do not see signifcant local and regional benefits from the resources of our region, which are taken out, by the billions of dollars worth, annually.  I should also note that our region, northern Saskatchewan, is slightly larger than Unified Germany, but has a population of less than 70,000, of which 60% are Aboriginal, being Cree, Metis and Dene.  This is not a game with us, we live our Culture every day!

Respectfully;
Ric








« Last Edit: April 27, 2007, 01:45:08 pm by Ric_Richardson »

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2007, 01:00:32 pm »
Tansi;

I have noted that M Porcupine has mentioned that she/he supports the inclusion of Blueberries, in our efforts to find economic benefits from local, Traditional knowledge and resources.

While many people look at Blueberries as a food, it should be noted that they have excellent anti-oxidant values, as well as being recognized to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's disease.  Blueberry tea is known to be able to arrest Type 2 Diabetes and there are a number of other health benefits to be gained from consuming this Medicinal plant.

The local, natural wild Blueberries are also superior in taste, to commerically grown products.

They can be marketed in numerous value-added ways, including pie filling, jam, juice, capsules, fruit roll-ups and teas, just to name a few methods of adding value to one of our Non Timber Forest Products.

Ric


Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2007, 03:34:56 pm »
Hi Ric

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions .

Um - so your point about the blueberries is supposed to be that if i buy blueberries I am buying traditional Medicine so I should just shut up about the Sweetgrass ? LOL

Ric , I have concerns when someone repeatedly says they are integrating Traditional Medicine with a modren economy in some sort of community process  , but they don't name the Elders and First Nations leaders who are guiding this process . If this is any kind of formal First Nations intitative as you repeatedly suggest it is , I don't see why naming the people involved in this would violate
anyones privacy. That you feel this way , suggests the consultations about the use of Traditional Medicines were something you have done privately, on your own , and there has not been any kind of formal public community process.

Ric
Quote
"leaders, in our area have access to Sweetgrass, but do purchase tobacco and prints, which are used in ceremonies also. "

I think the difference is if something has been produced for consumption , it isn't considered consecrated to ceremonial use until it is obtained for that purpose . For example I am not aware of any problem selling a basket woven with Sweetgrass , but Sweetgrass for ceremonial use is consecrated when it is picked .The objections seem to come up up when something intended to be used in Ceremony is sold . A good example of this is in this post from the Manitoba Warriors Society ;

http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:ChySADNPfbwJ:puffin.creighton.edu/lakota/war_4.html+sell
ing+sweetgrass+elders&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=28&gl=ca


Date: Wed, 09 Apr 1997
From: Manitoba Warriors Online manitoba@canadamail.com

Quote
"If only we could count the times our members have gone to powwows and seen people selling and buying items that were never ment to be sold. We rescently recieved a letter from another First Nation's person complaining to us about how we were going to wreck his business by telling people that what he is selling has no spiritual value when they buy it from him and his mail order business. He stated that since he is Dakota it is, his 'tradition', and we should respect it, as we all have different traditions. We replyed to this man in this way: We have Dakota brothers within our Society and in none of the traditions that they have given does it say that they are obliged to sell sweetgrass and tobacco ties as you are doing. "

So I guess it can be offensive to buy cloth and tobacco if it is already been dedicated for ceremonial use .

Even selling tobacco that has been grown for ceremonial use , is considered inappropriate in the Six Nations area .

http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:76vb3N7g-hIJ:www.aboriginalbusinesscases.com/bestpractices.pdf
+%22not+sell%22+sweetgrass+elders&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=17&gl=ca


Quote
Aboriginal Communities and Sustainable Rural Development: Best Practices of Rural, Agricultural-related Aboriginal Ventures

In Sweet Grass Gardens, the elders visited Ken and Linda Parker. They were concerned about what knowledge would be shared about the plants. They also were concerned that people should not profit from selling ceremonial plants. Ken and Linda had told the Elders they wanted to restore the numbers, and preserve and maintain them. They also do not sell Indian tobacco but rather exchange or trade for this sacred healing plant. The recipient of the tobacco determines the value of the trade.

Ric
Quote
12. As previously stated, Traditionally, Honour and Respect were the guides in trade.  I have never supported a set fee for ceremony, since those that would be involved with these, would understand, or be taught the proper protocols.  I do take offense that you would try to slip that one in!
I wasn't trying to slip anything in . Why would you take offence ? It seems like a reasonable question . Though I am not familiar with your exact area  , I do know that you are surrounded by areas where Elders are saddened by the sale of Sweetgrass, and I don't believe selling Sacred Medicine for profit is the traditional protocol in the areas surrounding you. As you say learning traditional protocols will protect ceremonies from being sold and it isn't protecting Medicines from being sold , of course i wonder where you draw the line and why you draw it there .

Ric
Quote
I also find it very disrespectful for you to try to equate the sale of Non Timber Forest Products, with the drug trade, which has had very devastating effects on my family, my community and my region.

I wasn't trying to draw an analogy in that way . I was commenting on the dificulties in stopping people
from making money any way they can , even if it has an obvious negative consquence , as is the case of the drug trade . I called selling sweetgrass a small thing in comparison because it is not so obviously negative .

As the practice of selling some Sacred plants has become so widespread trying to stop it is impossible , maybe this Elder in Edmonton , Dave Laswisse gives the best advice , but please don't try and say there are no traditional people in the areas surrounding you , that object to the commercialization of Sweetgrass  .

http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:MtRNTQdmxMYJ:www.ammsa.com/windspeaker/windnews97.
html+%22buy+sweetgrass+%22+Elders&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ca


Quote
By Kenneth Williams
Windspeaker Staff Writer
EDMONTON

"A dilemma faced by Aboriginal people, particularly those living in cities, is whether or not it's acceptable to buy sweetgrass, sage or other smudging materials. The immediate reaction is that it shouldn't, because of the sacred nature of these items. The problem arises however whenever urban Aboriginal people, who want sweetgrass, can only get it when they buy it from a shop.

Ken Belcourt, who's been selling furs in Edmonton for most of his life, sells sweetgrass. He believes he is providing a service, but is not ashamed to admit he makes a little profit as well.

People, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, have criticized him for selling the smudging material."
(con... )

"Dave Laswisse is a cultural co-ordinator at Poundmaker's Lodge, a substance abuse treatment facility in St. Albert, a city on Edmonton's northern border. Even though he said he is not about to judge someone else, he finds that it's better for the user to learn where sweetgrass comes from and how to pick it for themselves.

"A lot of people that come here for treatment have never gone out to pick sweetgrass and its good for them and it gives them a connection to Mother Earth," he said.

Laswisse also feels that sweetgrass is being used too often.

"The only time we used sweetgrass is when there was a big storm or trauma in the family. We never lit it everyday and waved it around," he said. "It was never bought [and] never sold."

Even though this is the way he was brought up, Laswisse is quick to emphasize he doesn't judge other people or how they use it."

Ric
Quote
I can only assume that you reside in an area, in which Aboriginal people are in the minority, unlike here where we form the majority population.
Ric
Quote
This is not a game with us, we live our Culture every day!

I have noticed that when I support the many Elders who are uncomfortable with people selling sweetgrass,  you repeatedly make comments to suggest I don't know what I am talking about
and out of touch with reality .

I'm uncomfortable that you do that Ric . It isn't that I expect you to respect me , because I am nobody important , but it would be nice if you showed more respect for the heartfelt concerns of Elders who don't share your own opinion . And it isn't just a few eccentric individuals as you seem to want people to believe .

I hope brushing people off , who have a different understanding of traditions than yourself , isn't the way you conducted your community consultation process .


Offline Ric_Richardson

  • Posts: 248
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2007, 04:31:20 pm »
Tansi;

M. Porcupine-  I have attempted to show Respect in answering your questions, but realize that you are totally fixated on Sweetgrass and apparently do not wish to learn about what I have been speaking of.

It is possibly that I observe local protocols, when discussing the concept of the development of a Non Timber Forest Product industry, when I approach Elders and community leaders, to learn about the issues that can be dealt with, with this form of industry development, that I am able to hear of issues that this form of economic initiative is looked at, in a positive light.  In our region, more can be accomplished over a pot of tea, than on the internet.

Many Elders, local organizations, economic development agencies and Aboriginal groups are not happy about the continual destructive exploitation of our Traditional territories, with very limited benefits coming to our communities.  Almost every Aboriginal family, in our region has family members who pick and sell Traditionally used plants, although mostly as raw materials.   

In your world view, it may be that it is easier to argue against the use of plants, destroyed in the logging, mining and oil and gas developments, than it is to understand the waste of these precious resources, which could contribute to much needed economic development which benefits our people.

Please consider what I have spoken of, the next time you buy corn and potatoes, from a non-native corporation, cloth, from a non-native corporation or tobacco.

Some of us do not believe that the only people who deserve to profit from our Traditional knowledge and resources, are White!

Ekosi
Ric



« Last Edit: April 27, 2007, 04:34:11 pm by Ric_Richardson »

frederica

  • Guest
Re: 'Who Owns Native Culture?"
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2007, 08:13:46 pm »
There is one that I know of here, called Native Seed. They had some problems in the beginning with Montsanto, but it worked out for the most part.  They been around for over 20 years or so. http://www.nativeseeds.org/v2/content.php?catID=1020 and http://www.nativeseeds.org/v2 content.php?catID=1018 frederica