Promoting Indigenous Innovation, Enterprise, and Entrepreneurship Through the Licensing of Article 31 Indigenous Assets and Resources
64 SMU L. Rev. 1095 (2011)
35 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2012
Date Written: March 29, 2011
The notion that indigenous entrepreneurship is inherently paradoxical to participation in the western marketplace must be challenged, even though there is a fine balance indigenous entrepreneurs maintain with their own world and the western world. This balance considers that indigenous entrepreneurs exist within transgenerational communities with complex cross-cultural linkages with the west. Far from fully segregating from western society and the states in which they reside, indigenous entrepreneurs seek to promote indigeneity through indigenous and non-indigenous commerce. As Hindle and Lansdowne explain, “[t]here need be no paradox, no contradiction, no values sacrifice, no false dichotomy between heritage and innovation.” Reference to the goals and objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples bear this out. For example, article 19 of the Declaration relates to Indigenous peoples’ participation with respect to issues that affect them, their lands, their resources, and their rights. The Declaration also calls for good-faith efforts by states to consult and cooperate with Indigenous peoples about economic and social development that directly or indirectly impacts their rights. Relevant to this paper, article 31 of the Declaration deals with Indigenous peoples' right to exercise authority and control over their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions in addition to any intellectual property rights in these assets and resources. Accordingly, this Article promotes the use of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a basis for asserting indigenous control over article 31 assets and resources to spur indigenous enterprise and innovation. After asserting control, Indigenous peoples can then operationalize the use of their article 31 assets and resources to counteract the “history of dispossession, assimilation, child removal and other previous colonial policies [that have] created a legacy” of economic disadvantage, political and structural disadvantage, geographic and cultural disadvantage, and collective and individual disadvantage. This article focuses on licensing as a mechanism to both implement the goals and objectives of the Declaration and to reassert indigenous authority and control over indigenous assets and resources.
Keywords: indigenous, rights, self-determination, intellectual property, human rights, entrepreneurship, innovation, United Nations, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UN DRIP, DRIPS, DRIP, Licensing
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation