Culture and Property Rights and Protection

Protection Knowledge Traditional Resource Rights in the New Millenium

Although we have been subjected to colonial forces for several centuries, we retain and affirm all of our inherent collective rights as sovereign nations. These rights include the right to protect our own survival, in particular, by protecting our cultures, languages, and knowledge systems from expropriation, encroachment, or theft.

  1. Indigenous Peoples own languages, knowledge systems and laws are indispensable to their identity, and are a foundation for self-determination.
  2. Indigenous Peoples' knowledge systems are inextricably and inalienably connected with their ancestry and ancestral territories.
  3. Indigenous Peoples' heritage is not a commodity, nor the property of the nation-state. The material and intellectual heritage of each Indigenous People is a sacred gift and a responsibility that must be honoured and held for the benefit of future generations.
  4. Indigenous rights, individual and collective, are defined by Indigenous laws. The starting point for any consideration of rights to learn, use or transmit Indigenous knowledge therefore must therefore be the laws of the Indigenous peoples concerned.
  5. The use of Indigenous Peoples' knowledge or resources is unlawful and illegitimate unless it is done in conformity with the laws of the peoples concerned. Union of BC Indian Chiefs (2000).
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