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Indigenizing Intellectual Property: Tribally-Based Definition and Protections for Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Resources.

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Title:Indigenizing Intellectual Property: Tribally-Based Definition and Protections for Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Resources.
Authors:Wynne, Melodi S.
Contributors:Psychology (department)
Keywords:traditional knowledge
indigenous research methodology
indigenous analysis
Date Issued:May 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This community action research project created a Tribally-based definition and recommendations
for protections of the collective intellectual property on behalf of the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
Qualitative data was collected from focus groups and interviews with adult Tribal members,
close allies, program directors, and Tribal scholars. The qualitative data followed an indigenous
research methodology pathway from the inception of the project through the analysis, which
incorporated elder co-researchers from the Tribe through every stage. The data suggested a
definition for collective intellectual property. The Tribe’s dialect of the Interior Salish language
provided an effective word, sʔelḱʷmn (s-elkwhe-mn; inheritance/keepsake), to define the
responsibility the people express in relationship to the cultural resources, concepts, and materials
contained by the definition. The resulting definition is inclusive of the ideas generated in focus
group and interview responses to three sets of questions. The first question set generated lists
used to create the definition. The second question set generated concepts that were incorporated
into a proposal for the Tribe to consider as a means to safeguard the sʔelḱʷmn of the people. The
third set consisted of one question, “what else?” and followed an informal debrief designed to
inform and extend the discussion further toward decolonizing and indigenizing the meaning and
practices of Tribal intellectual property. The recommendation for protection of the sʔelḱʷmn
was modeled after community advisory boards and delivers at least three essential functions.
First, it provides a way to interact with the collective intellectual inherited practices, materials,
and knowledges of the Tribe through meaningful engagement with the Tribal people and
programs. Second, it requires workshop study of cultural competency that primarily challenges
privilege, entitlement, and fosters a healthy sense of belonging. Finally, it creates space for, and
attention to, products of previous, current, and future interactions with the Tribe’s collective
intellectual sʔelḱʷmn. The definition and recommendations were introduced to the Spokane
Tribal Business Council, the decision-making body of the Tribal government. This began an
ongoing conversation and project for this Tribe as it moves into the future through selfdetermination
in a way that makes sense given its’ past, present, and future story.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Psychology

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