Forwarded from Jim Craven

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Oct 10 10:36:25 MDT 2000

Subject: Press Release - Indigenous Resource Protection Act now  available
Press Release Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism
For Release:  October 1, 2000

Contact: Brett Lee Shelton, J.D. Director of Policy and Research   Tel:
(775) 835-6932 Email: bshelton at
Debra Harry, Executive Director Tel:  (775) 835-6932 ipcb at

New Model for Tribal Protection in Scientific Research Released:  Changing
the paradigm from being research "subjects" to research "partners".

Wadsworth, NV:  The Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism (IPCB)
announces the release of the Indigenous Research Protection Act, a model
regulatory tool which IPCB developed to help American Indian tribes protect
their genetic resources and peoples from potentially harmful scientific
research activities conducted within their jurisdictions. Brett Lee
Shelton, attorney and Director of Policy and Research for the IPCB said
"the Act is an attempt to provide tribes with as much control over research
affecting them as possible.  It addresses a need for protection that has
been absent in other legal and policy arenas."

Historically, there has been prolific scientific interest in Indigenous
peoples' lifestyles, knowledge, cultures, histories, and worldviews.  With
the burgeoning field of genetic research, indigenous peoples worldwide are
now at the forefront of a new wave of scientific investigations: the search
for unique genetic sequences that may prove useful in health research or in
profitable new products.

The Indigenous Research Protection Act was developed by Native American
attorneys who serve on the IPCB's staff and Board of Directors.  The field
of genetic research requires special considerations, such as the control of
biological samples, that are probably not included in most existing tribal
legal codes but need to be considered.  Jeanette Wolfley, who currently
serves as an attorney for the Ft. Hall Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and is a
member of the IPCB Board of Directors who helped to draft the model Act,
said "this Act provides a model to help protect against unwanted research
on Native peoples, including provisions for tribal consent prior to
research taking place within tribal jurisdictions, and provisions for
control of biological samples used in research beyond reservation
boundaries. In addition, it is likely to result in more beneficial outcomes
of research when tribes are fully involved in the review, design, and
implementation of research that meets their needs."

The Act also incorporates elements of other successful tribal resource
protection regulations, such as those of the Akwesasne Mohawk, Pueblo of
Zuni, and White Mountain Apache Nations.  The Act also draws on several
international documents concerning the rights of Indigenous peoples.  The
Act is written to address all research that may take place within a tribe's
jurisdiction, including special attention to new fields of study in

With publication of the Act, tribes now have a tool to use as the basis for
exercising full control and regulatory authority over scientific research
activity that affects their peoples or territories. Debra Harry, Executive
Director of the IPCB said "establishing this control is particularly
important because current national legal protections for human subjects in
research protect only individuals and do not extend to group rights.  In
other words, there currently are no laws that protect the collective rights
of indigenous peoples in genetic research."  Existing laws protect
individuals, and these protections are focused on an individual's freedom
to choose to participate based on fully informed consent and an awareness
of the benefits and risks involved.

The Act is offered to assist tribal leaders and attorneys when a Tribe
desires to protect itself and its people from potential human rights
violations or exploitation, by taking control of research conducted within
its jurisdiction.  It covers all research, including genetic research.  The
Act is available at the IPCB website ( pub/irpaintro.html),
and it may be adapted as necessary and incorporated into any tribe's legal
system.  The IPCB may be contacted to answer questions about the contents
of the Act or about adapting the act to meet a tribe's specific needs.

See the Indigenous Resource Protection Act at the following website:

Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism P.O. Box 818 Wadsworth, NV
89442 Tel:  (775) 835-6832 Fax:  (775) 835-6934 ipcb at

Louis Proyect
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