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Indigenous Research Protection Act


The Indigenous Research Protection Act is offered to assist tribal leaders and attorneys when a Tribe desires to protect itself and its people by taking control of research conducted on its Reservation. It may be copied, adapted, and adopted freely. The appendices can also serve as stand-alone documents in the case of tribes that have not adopted legislation like this Act. Following are some points that we think are important to discuss about the Act as written.

  1. While a Tribe concerned about research on its members could decide to ban research altogether, the Act as written assumes that a Tribe might want to allow some research on its Reservation, and it allows for this possibility to occur under the Tribe's own terms. The Act is intended to foster cooperation and set the stage for research that the Tribe sees as beneficial. See Sections 1 & 2 for more explanation of the purpose of the Act as it is written.

  2. The Act as written should be seen more as a cookbook than as a model to be adopted outright. Each Tribe will know best which individual provisions it wants to include, and which to cut out, when drafting its own legislation.

  3. The Act includes provisions setting out two fees: an administrative fee, to cover costs of administration of an application, and a refundable security bond, to ensure that the researcher(s) comply with the terms under which they are allowed to do their research. Each Tribe will want to set its own fee rates, and may even choose not to charge fees.

  4. Permits are a part of the Act as written. The provisions for permits may be easily removed, but a permitting procedure will usually make enforcement easier, because a researcher being required to carry a permit provides immediate verification whether their research has been approved by the Tribe, and should the researcher violate any Act provisions the Tribe may revoke the permit.

  5. A penalties section is included, but appropriate penalty provisions may vary depending on each Tribe's situation. Factors that may come into play include ownership of land on the Reservation and make-up (members, non-member Indians, and non-Indians) of the Reservation community.

  6. Appendix. In addition to the regulatory requirements, the Act provides for the entering into of research agreements. The Tribe may choose not to require such agreements, but such agreements may serve as protection should certain data or samples be removed from the Reservation and the Tribe seeks recognition of its terms and conditions in another jurisdiction. A model Academic Research Agreement is included as Appendix 1.

Dated: September 30, 2000

Indigenous Research Protection Act
Appendix 1: Model Academic Research Agreement



For more information contact:
Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism
P.O. Box 818
Wadsworth, NV 89442
Tel: (775) 835-6932
Fax: (775) 835-6934

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