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Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism
Annual Report
For the period January 1 to December 1, 2003

Program Outreach Activities

The Director was invited to attend the 9th Nuclear Free And Independent Pacific Conference, in Nuku’alofa, Tonga in January 18–24, 2003. She gave a presentation to the plenary body on biopiracy issues with an emphasis on the Pacific Region, and participated in the globalization working group. NFIP Board representation from the Canada/US region rotates between the two countries every four years. The regional caucus nominated Debra Harry to serve as the regional representative to the NFIP board for the next four years.

On Feb 12, 2003 IPCB board member Jonathan Marks gave the annual Linnaeus Lecture at Uppsala University, Sweden.

IPCB’s Director, nominated by Mililani Trask, Pacific Representative to the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, was invited to participate in a small Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group Meeting On The Potential impacts Of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies On Smallholder Farmers, Indigenous And Local Communities And Farmers’ Rights at the CBD offices in Montreal on February 19-21, 2003. The Ad Hoc group, consisting of representatives from industry, UN bodies, and NGOs, developed a set of recommendations regarding GURTs technologies, more commonly known as “terminator technology” and the final report will be presented to the next Scientific Advisory Group meeting and eventually to the next Conference of the Parties.

The Director was invited to participate in the Miami convening of The Globalizing Civil Society project which brought together activists from community organizations, based primarily in low-income communities of color, to consider how globalization is impacting their work. The project, coordinated by the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community of UC Santa Cruz and the Inter-American Forum of the Collins Center in Miami, was structured around two weekend convenings that took place during the fall of 2002 in Santa Cruz and Miami, respectively. Follow-up included sponsorship of a delegation to the January 2003 World Social Forum and a meeting with a select number of the activists to consider next steps held in New York City in March 2003. In addition to participation in the strategy meeting in NYC, the Director served as a resource person at a meeting of the “Funders Network on Trade and Globalization: Local-Global Working Group”, organized by the Ford Foundation and held on March 7, 2003.

The Project Director participated as a speaker at a national gathering of Indigenous Peoples organized by Tonatierra and the Seventh Generation Fund in Phoenix, and made a general presentation on biocolonialism, and a special briefing for participants on the International Genome Consortium, newly based and operating in Phoenix, AZ.

The Director was a featured speaker on March 12, 2003 at an evening forum during Women’s Week at UC-Boulder sponsored by the Native American Committee. On Mar 14-15, board member Jonathan Marks spoke to the Native American Studies Department at St Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada.

The Project Director attended the briefing on nanotechnology organized by the ETC Group in Chicago, IL on March 20-21, 2003.

The Director served as a guest lecturer for a class in the Rural Development and Sociology Department at Cornell University on April 8, 2003. The Native American Program also hosted a screening of the IPCB/Yeast Directions new film, “The Leech and the Earthworm,” on the evening of April 7, 2003.

On May 12-15, the Director participated in the Second Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, held from 12 to 23 May 2003 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. She assisted in drafting a joint statement titled “Collective Statement of Indigenous Peoples addressing Biopiracy” for Agenda Item 4(b): Environment. The submitting organizations included: IPCB, Ka Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawai`i, Waikiki Hawaiian Civic Club, Rapa Nui Parliament, Korohu`a (Rapa Nui Elders), Pacific Concerns Resource Center (PCRC), Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP), and Dewan Adat Papua.

On Tuesday, May 13, the Director held a screening of the film “The Leech and the Earthworm,” at UN headquarters, Studio 4, for the Permanent Forum participants, and distributed IPCB educational materials and approximately 100 review copies of the film to the PF participants consisting of Indigenous peoples from around the world. During the week of May 26--30, 2003 the Director served as an invited resource person specifically on IPR and TRIPS issues for the “Pacific Gender and Trade Workshop” sponsored by the Pacific Concerns Resource Council and held in Nadi, Fiji. The workshop involved representatives of Pacific women's non-government organizations, churches and scholars of tertiary institutions. Participants came from Tonga, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji and the two Suva-based regional institutions of the University of the South Pacific and Pacific Theological College. In addition to gaining understanding of the key regional multi-lateral trading system agreements (such as Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER), Economic Partnership Agreement/Cotonou Agreement) and the World Trade Organization and its instruments like GATS and TRIPS), the group developed a Pacific Gender and Trade network focusing on trade literacy, research and advocacy activities in the Pacific region. The film was also shown to the workshop participants.

During the month of May board member Jonathan Marks served as a consultant to the PBS series: “Race - the Power of an Illusion” (

During the first week of June, the Director did a series of film screenings and presentations at several locations throughout the North Island in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and in Suva, Fiji. The film screenings were widely attended because of the strong Maori presence in the film, and because the GE debate is heating up again nationwide with the lifting of the national moratorium on field trials of GE crops in October 03. Approximately 100 review copies of the film were distributed in Aotearoa.

The Director served as a panelist for the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) annual conference for a workshop titled “Protecting Mother Earth/Sacred Sites” on June 19. She also did a film screening for the NAJA participants. On June 21, she also did a film screening for the Oneida Nation community sponsored by the Oneida Nation Media Program.

Board member Stuart Newman was featured in the PBS documentary “Bloodlines: Technology Hits Home” ( which dealt with the threat to human identity of new genetic technologies. He also discussed these issues on a segment of NPR’s All Things Considered. Dr. Newman also appeared in the Discovery Channel documentary “Humanzee,” which dealt with the social meaning of biological boundaries.

The Director was an invited to participate in a workshop sponsored by Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) together with the Third World Network and GRAIN on “Biodiversity, Traditional Knowledge and Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Threats and Challenges.” The workshop was held on 3-5 July 2003 at the World Council of Churches at Geneva, Switzerland. The film was also screened at the WCC by the workshop participants. The participants of the workshop made substantial written contributions for a final report and conclusions of the workshop discussions.

The Director was invited to serve as a resource person to the 2nd Annual Wild Rice Convening, July 22, 2003 held at the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation in Hayward, Wisconsin. The Convening, organized by Winona LaDuke’s organization, the White Earth Land Recovery Project, allowed for updates and strategy discussion on the current issues related to the patenting and genetic sequencing work on Wild Rice. The film was also screened for participants at the meeting. On July 24th, Kristin Dawkins at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, organized a screening of the film for IATP’s global issues group in Minneapolis. The screening was attended by approximately 25 individuals and was followed by a discussion period.

The Director participated in the Fall 2003 Retreat of the Positive Futures Network by to be held at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, MI. The retreat will be the ninth in the State of the Possible series that began in 1999. The retreat brings together diverse social change leaders to explore the opportunities for shifting our society to a more just, sustainable and compassionate path. The theme of the Fall retreat will be "The Language of Empowerment."

The Director participated in a small dialogue on Oct. 15th, with the President-Dominique Consiel, and other representatives of the Aveda Corporation, regarding indigenous peoples concerns on their trademarked “Indigenous” product line. The Director was instrumental in persuading the Mr. Consiel to agree to legally withdraw the trademark on the word “Indigenous” and to discontinue the “Indigenous” product line. The Director worked with Aveda staff to draft a press release, and within two weeks of the meeting, the Aveda Corporation publicly issued the announcement to withdraw the trademark and product line and to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples in our efforts to stop the infringement of IPRs over our cultural and biological resources.

On Oct. 16th, the Director made a presentation to the Heifer International annual meeting regarding with work of the IPCB in regards to the protection of biological resources and sustainable development. Further discussions focused on areas of possible collaboration between the Heifer International Native Nations Program, the IPCB, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the International Indian Treaty Council. We are discussion ways of sharing IPCB materials and expertise with projects supported by the Native Nations program.

“The Leech and the Earthworm” was accepted for screening at the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival at Cornell and Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY on Oct. 6-7 and at the Imaginative Film Festival in Toronto during the week of Oct 22-26, time and date TBA. The Director was in attendance for Q&A’s at the screenings.

On Nov. 4, IPCB board chair Judy Gobert, spoke at the “Earth Politics and Law Program” at Colorado University, Denver. She also screened the film for the symposium participants.

On Nov. 11-15, the Director was invited to attend the Forty-fourth Annual Convention of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs held on Kaua'i, Hawai'i. During the week-long event, the Director participated in several venues, including as a presenter for a workshop on bioprospecting and intellectual property rights sponsored by the Association's Bioprospecting Task Force; as a resource person to the Health Committee regarding an Association resolution relating to genetic research on Native Hawaiians and the patenting and licensing of their genome; and facilitating discussion on biopiracy and it's impact on the Native Hawaiian peoples after the film showing of The Leech and the Earthworm.

On Nov. 22-24, 2003 the Director participated in an experts workshop held in Como, Italy to develop recommendations on access and benefit sharing to be input into the CBD workshops on 8(j), ABS to take place in December in Montreal, and further to the COP7 to be held in Malaysia in February, 2004.

The Director attended the annual general meeting of the Call of the Earth Initiative, an international working group of indigenous peoples organized to analyze issues related to the protection of Indigenous Knowledge. The second meeting of the Call of the Earth initiative will be held Nov. 24-28 in Bellagio, Italy.

On Dec. 3-13, the Director will participate in the CBD’s Access and Benefit Sharing and 8(j) Working Group meetings in Montreal. The purpose of the workshops is to explore and make recommendations regarding the establishment of an international regime on access and benefit sharing. The Bonn Guidelines are considered a stepping stone toward an international binding regime. The director will work with other indigenous peoples to try to insure relevant text protecting the rights of indigenous peoples is forwarded to the COP7.

IPCB/Yeast Directions Film Project
The film titled “The Leech and the Earthworm” was completed in April. We completed filming in November, 2002, and began the editing process in December 02. Since April, we’ve shared review copies with a wide network of interested individuals and organizations, and have done screenings to share the film with audiences in different parts of the world, including:

April 7, Cornell University Robert Purcell Auditorium, Ithaca NY
April 19, New College Theatre, San Francisco, CA
May 13, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN Bldg, NY
May 29, Pacific Gender and Trade Workshop, Nadi, Fiji
May 30, The Biozone - ASEED’s neighborhood at the G8 protests, Evian, France.
June 4, Riverside Studios, London
June 5, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland
June 6, Parihaka Marae, Taranaki
June 8, Whanganui Community Centre, Whanganui
June 9, TPK Maori Ministers of Parliament, Wellington
June 9, Green Party, Wellington
June 11, JJ’s Convention Centre,Suva, Fiji
June 17, International Art festival Break 2.2, Ljubljana, Slovenia
June 19. Native American Journalists Association, Green Bay, WI
June 21, Oneida Nation Media Program, Green Bay, WI
July 4, Workshop on Protecting Indigenous Knowledge, World Council of Churches, Geneva
July 9, Zanzibar International Film Festival, Zanzibar
July 24, IATP Global Issues Group, Minneapolis, MN.
Oct. 6-7, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca, NY
Oct 22-26, ImagineNative Film Festival, Toronto, ON
Nov. 6, Camosun College, Victoria, BC
Nov. 7, University of Victoria, BC
Nov. 7-8, Docomania Film Festival, New Plymouth, Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Nov. 27, Call of the Earth annual meeting, Bellagio, Italy

The film is now available for purchase from the IPCB website for both personal home and institutional use. We plan to develop a DVD version and and study guide. A non-exclusive agreement has been developed with Journeyman for global broadcast distribution. The print-quality color poster and video cover designs were designed by Gabe Shaw. The poster design and information about the film can be seen at:

Media Interviews
March 12, Interview for Native America radio program in Boulder, CO.
April 9, 2003 The director did an interview with Jonathan Miller for an NPR program about the effects of globalization on indigenous peoples.
May 7, 2003 The Director edited an interview that will be a contribution to a new book on Globalization by David Solnit.
July 11, 2003 The Director did an interview with filmmaker Joe Gray for a new film on human genetic technologies. His previous work includes “Green Blood, Red Tears” ( on the economic, social, and biochemical causes which link farming and suicide.
July 17, 2003 The director did an interview with Giovanna DiChiro, based at Mt. Holyoke College, for a new book on women’s leadership in the environmental justice work.
September, 2003 The director did an interview with Trace DeMeyer for a review of the film which was published in the September issue of the Pequot Times.
October, 2003 The director did an interview for a news segment for the national news program of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network shown throughout Canada.
October, 2003 the Director did a radio interview with Dan Smoke for his weekly program Smoke Signals in London, Ontario.
October, 2003 The director did a 20 min. live radio interview for Aboriginal Voices radio in Victoria, BC.
October, 2003 the director did an interview with Jeff Shaw for an article on biopiracy published on Nov. 26, 2003 in “In These Times”


T he IPCB has been an active and effective advocacy organization that fills a unique niche by bringing quality resources on complex issues to Indigenous peoples. Even though we are a small organization, our efforts reach indigenous communities around the world. This work would not have been possible without the support of our funders who continue to invest in and support our efforts. We are deeply grateful for their generous support.