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Annual Report – Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism
For the period December 1 to December 31, 2004
Contact: Debra Harry O-(775) 574-0248 C-(775) 338-5983

December 2003
The Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism played an active role in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Working Groups on Access and Benefit Sharing and Article 8(j) in preparation for decision documents to move forward to the CBD’s 7th Conference of the Parties in February, 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is important to stay abreast of current discussion in the CBD and to be able to share with information through our community education work. I also served on the CBD’s Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group regarding Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTS) in February 2003 to examine the potential impacts of GURTS on Indigenous peoples and small holder farmers. The AHTEG report was discussed during the WG8(j) to determine what the recommendation would be to COP 7. We were successful in getting a mandate for the WG8(j) to examine the social/economic impacts of GURTS on Indigenous peoples, and to require additional input from Indigenous peoples for the new review. A copy of the IPCB intervention is attached.
In Montreal, Debra Harry was selected to serve as the Chair of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) working group on Sui Generis Systems in the WG8(j) discussions. The IIFB is the caucus of Indigenous peoples participating in an advisory capacity to the CBD. As a working group chair, I served as the primary spokesperson in the Sui Generis deliberations on behalf of the IIFB, and played a key role in drafting interventions, organizing working group strategy discussions, and keeping the full body of the IIFB informed on the status of the debates. I also served as the lead IIFB spokesperson in the GURTs deliberations, and as a member of the Friends of Bureau on behalf of the IIFB. A detailed report of specific interventions is attached.

January 2004
Ms. Harry was an invited to participate in the conference on “Genetic Research: Patents & Benefits sharing with American Indian Communities” sponsored the by the University of Colorado Health Research Center. Ms. Harry presented on the topic “Critical Perspectives on the Benefits of Genetics” at the conference.

February 2004
Ms. Harry was invited to serve as a plenary keynote speaker on the opening day of the "Technologies, Publics, and Power" conference sponsored by Queensland University in Christchurch, Aotearoa (New Zealand). She spoke on the topic of "Indigenous Communities and Technoscience" followed by a panel and discussion. The Leech and the Earthworm was screened at the conference.
Dave Pratt, IPCB board member served as a speaker at the Synergy: the 3rd Annual Sustainable Living Conference on issues of ecology, culture, and justice in an attempt to create positive change. The conference was held at the Evergreen State College, in Olympia, WA from February 18th to 21st and IPCB participation was sponsored by the Native Student Alliance.
The Director participated in the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network (IWBN) and the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) prepatory meetings for the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties (COP7). These meetings were held in Sabah, Malaysia. IPCB participation in the IWBN included a workshop on the Impact of Intellectual Property Rights on Indigenous Knowledge, and a workshop on the “Basics of Genetics.” The Director served as the principle drafter of the resulting declaration issued by Indigenous women called the Manukan Declaration (
The Director participated as a member of the IIFB at the COP7 Feb. 9-20, 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. IPCB participated in the working group on Access and Benefit Sharing for the IIFB and the Director served as co-chair of the working group during the two-week meeting, and as the IIFB spokesperson during the Parties’ negotiations in the elaboration of an “international regime on access and benefit sharing”. The IPCB developed a press statement supported by 13 Indigenous organizations worldwide encouraging Indigenous communities to declare their territories ‘No Access Zones” in light of CBD’s proposal that will facilitate global genetic exploitation. The IPCB was also a lead organizer and presentor for a workshop on Access and Benefit Sharing, and related issues conducted for the full IIFB delegation.
The Leech and the Earthworm was a featured film at the ImageNation Aboriginal Film Festival in Vancouver February 27-29, and was also shown at the Siskiyou Film Festival in Oregon.

March 2004
The Director met with representatives of the Native Hawaiian Health Program to discuss strategies for strengthening their capacity to review genetic research affecting Native Hawaiians in the State. Discussions focused on the status of national policy with regard to collective and individual informed consent protection, and the establishment of a specialized institutional or community review board. The Director also met with the staff of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation to provide an overview on the impact of genetic engineering, and globalization, impact Indigenous peoples.
The Director contributed an essay for an upcoming book containing background arguments in support of the Council for Responsible Genetics Genetic Bill of Rights. The essay is in support of the rights of Indigenous peoples to control and protect their genetic resources. The Genetic Bill of Rights

April 2004
The IPCB is working on a Spanish version of The Leech and the Earthworm. We did the voice-over audio recording at the WBAI studios in NYC, and the Spanish version will soon be available. In particular, the Spanish version of the film is schedule to debut a the 7th International Indigenous Film and Video Festival to be held in Santiago, Chile in June 2004.
The Director was invited to speak on the topic "Indigenous Peoples and Biocolonialism: Genetics and Justice in the 21st Century” for the Women and the Environment class and also to speak at a public event and screening of “The Leech and the Earthworm” at Mt. Holyoke College, Amherst, MA.
On April 27, The Director co-lectured for the Hawaiian Studies: Contemporary Issues class for Professor Haunani Kay Trask at the University of Manoa, Hawaii.

May 2004
The Director was invited to serve as a plenary panelist at a Gender and Justice in the Gene Age, an invitational feminist meeting on reproductive and genetic technologies, on May 6 and 7 in New York City. The conference was co-sponsored by CGS; the Committee on Women, Population and the Environment; and Our Bodies Ourselves. It was the first U.S. meeting in many years to ground these issues in the values and commitments of feminists who work from a global social justice and human rights perspective. The director participated in the opening panel entitled: The Social and Political Meaning of the New Genetic and Reproductive Technologies.
May 10-14 - The Director attended the 3rd annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. The IPCB and Na Koa Ikaika O Ka Lahui Hawai`i drafted and presented a “Collective Statement on the Protection of Indigenous Knowledge”, further endorsed by twelve (12) Indigenous organizations. The statement addressed the issue of the negative impacts of the imposition of intellectual property rights on Indigenous knowledge systems, and requested the UN Permanent Forum serve as a coordinating body on the discussions taking place in various UN forums. The statement can be seen at: It was also reprinted in the First Nations Strategic Bulletin, June 2004 issue (copy attached).
On May 18, the Director co-lectured with Le’a Kanehe, staff attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation for a class “Pacific Island Experience” in the Asian Pacific Studies Department for Professor Erin Wright at UCLA.

June 10-12, 04 – The Director was invited as a guest speaker to the Ma¯tauranga Tuku Iho Tikanga Rangahau, Traditional Knowledge & Research Ethics Conference held at Te Papa, Wellington. The conference organized by Nga¯ Pae o te Ma¯ramatanga (Horizons of Insight) The National Institute for Research Excellence in Ma¯ori Development and Advancement in Aotearoa New Zealand. Prior to the conference, guest speakers were invited to serve as resource people to community dialogues for Maori communities in various regions of the country. The director was hosted by the Maori community in Gisborne and participated in two community-based events there. The conference themes addressed matters related to researching with socially excluded groups, bioethics, the challenges presented by the knowledge economy, tikanga Ma¯ori, matauranga, and indigenous knowledge, and the rapid advances being made in new technologies.
June 19, 04 - The Director and Le’a Kanehe did a presentation for the Te Waka Kai Ora Maori Organic Growers Association conference in Auckland. Te Waka Kai Ora planned to explore avenues to repatriate traditional Maori potatoes and kumara seed varieties at it's Hui Taumata which begin on June 18th at Te Puea Marae in Mangere. The national federation of Maori organic farmers discussed options for creating an initiative focused on the reclamation and preservation of these important foods. Te Waka Kai Ora is one of the few groups currently looking towards setting up formal tribal seed distribution networks and seed banks.

July 16, 04 – The director gave a presentation on the protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation Board of Directors at their meeting on the Island of Molokai, Hawaii.
The director and Le`a Kanehe co-authored a chapter for publication by the Indigenous Unit of the University Journal of Indigenous Policy. The journal will focus on a rights approach to Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous control over genetic resources and processes, Indigenous control over resources and intellectual property. The journal is due to be published in early 2005.
Sept 17, 04 – The director served as a panelist for a forum on the Protection of Indigenous Knowledge and Genetic Resources for the Native Hawaiian Bar Association in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The director completed an essay titled “Indigenous Acts of Self-Determination and Self-Defense” for a book edited by Sheldon Krimsky (Tufts University) accepted for publication by the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group under the working title, RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES IN THE BIOTECH AGE. The book will contain essays relating to the Council for Responsible Genetics’ Genetic Bill of Rights. The director’s essay argues for the right of Indigenous peoples to control and protect their genetic resources.

October 2004
Oct 1-3 04 – The director was invited to participate in the Globalizing Civil Society II – Miami Convening and spoke on the opening panel titled History, Values and the Current State of Play. The convening brought together a diverse group of community based organizations to share analysis of the different elements that have and continue to shape and propel today’s models of trade and economic integration, and to continue to explore and develop alternatives.
Oct. 6, 2004 – The IPCB was pleased to announce that Le`a Kanehe joined the IPCB as a legal analyst. She earned her bachelors degree in Hawaiian Studies and juris doctor law degree from the University of Hawai`i, as well as her law masters from the University of California-Berkeley. As an attorney in Hawai`i, her practice focused on native traditional and customary rights. She also worked with Kanaka Maoli community-based organizations to raise awareness about the impacts of genetic technologies and Western intellectual property rights. The major outcome of that work was a declaration asserting the right of self-determination of Kanaka Maoli to protect their traditional knowledge, cultural patrimony, biological diversity, and human genetic material. Internationally, she has advocated for the rights of Indigenous peoples at the UN human rights Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Oct. 22-23, 04 – Le`a Kanehe was invited to participate in a conference on biopolitics sponsored by the Heinrich Boell Foundation entitled “ Privatization of Nature and Knowledge. Under the BIOS sign: technology, ethics, diversity and rights,” held in Mexico City. The conference engaged Latin American and international experts to discuss and explore different ways of integrating issues as apparently diverse as genetically modified organisms, reproductive technologies, Indigenous rights, and the privatization of nature and knowledge through intellectual property laws.
On Nov. 2 the Director co-lectured a 2 hour class with Le’a Kanehe for the Indigenous Studies Program at Okanagan University College, North Kelowna Campus. On Nov. 4 the "The Leech and the Earthworm," was screened at the North Kelowna Campus following a Q&A. The two events were sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Anthropology Students Course Union.

December 2004
December 6-7, 8-10 - Le`a Kanehe was invited to participate in an Expert Meeting on Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge and the Implementation of Related International Commitments in San Jose, Costa Rica organized by the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests. Ms. Kanehe facilitated a working group on Indigenous peoples’ participation in international environmental forums during the two-day Indigenous Preparatory Meeting. During the three-day experts meeting, she presented information on the development of a proposed international regime on access & benefit sharing within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity and assisted with developing position statements on the protection of Indigenous knowledge and genetic material.
The Director and Le’a Kanehe co-authored a chapter titled “The BS in ABS: Critical Issues for Indigenous Peoples”, for a joint publication by the Third World Network and the Edmonds Institute on benefit sharing agreements. The publication will be released prior to the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity’s Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing (WG-ABS3) meeting to be held February 14-18,2005 in Bangkok. The authors will also participate in a side event at the WG-ABS3 titled “Benefits, benefits, Who’s got the benefits?”

IPCB/Yeast Directions Film Project
The film titled “The Leech and the Earthworm” was completed in April 2003. 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. During this grant period the film was screened at the following venues:
Jan. 16-21, 04 World Social Forum 2004 Film Festival, Mumbai (India)
Feb. 27, 04 ImageNation 6th Annual Film Festival, Vancouver BC
June 1-6, 04 Ecocinema Film Festival, Rhodes, Greece
June 3-5 04 "Normale" festival, 2nd Austrian Social Forum (ASF) in Linz (Austria-Europe)
June 21, 04 7th Annual Indigenous Film and Video Festival, Santiago, Chile
Oct. 15-17 04 Festival audiovisivo della Biodiversità: promosso dalla Campagna Italiana, al Bioparco di Roma
Oct. 27-29 04 Earthvision 2004, Santa Cruz CA – Honorable Mention Award winner
The IPCB completed a Spanish version of The Leech and the Earthworm in May 04. WBAI studios in NYC contributed studio support to do the audio voice recordings by volunteers. The Spanish version of the film debuted at the 7th International Indigenous Film and Video Festival to be held in Santiago, Chile in June 2004. We now plan to share this version of the film with Spanish-speaking audiences and organizations.
The information about the film can be seen at:

Media Interviews (partial)
March 5, 2004 Judy Gobert, board chair was a guest on the 1 hr television program Contact for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network on “Biopiracy”.
April 8, 2004 the director interview with co-guests Steve Newcomb and Le’a Kanehe on“Native America Calling” on the topic “The Leech and the Earthworm”.
May 11, 2004 the director interviewed with Stephen Leahy of Inter Press Service (IPS for his article “Activists Wary as Monsanto Withdraws GE Wheat”.