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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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.
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 (www.ipcb.org)
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.
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
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. http://www.nativenetworks.si.edu/clacpi7th.htm
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.
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: http://www.ipcb.org/resolutions/htmls/pf2004.html.
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
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
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
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 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,
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. http://www.nativenetworks.si.edu/clacpi7th.htm.
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: http://ipcb.org/publications/video/files/film_project.html
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
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”.