Protecting indigenous knowledge under international law
Cowley-Head, Blanche Cathleen
Indigenous peoples are facing immense and immediate external pressures that are threatening their continued cultural survival. Chapters 1 and 2 detail the issues and concerns of indigenous peoples with respect to the past and current threats on their heritages and knowledge that stem from centuries of colonialism. This thesis argues that the most promising source of external protection of the distinctive indigenous cultural heritages and knowledge is international human rights law. It is argued that human rights law is the area of international law that is most receptive to indigenous peoples' legal status and concerns and has the most potential for protecting the integrity of indigenous heritages and knowledge in a manner that is compatible with indigenous conceptual frameworks and values. Others areas of international law, such as environment, trade, intellectual property and cultural property are also assessed in Chapter 3 as potential sources of external protection. Chapter 4 outlines indigenous principles of measuring all potential sources of external legal protection against internal decolonization goals and aspirations for protecting indigenous heritages and knowledge.