Reconciling Traditional Knowledge Through Protocols: A Framework for Indigenous Communities and Publishers

Regions: South Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, traditional knowledge, participatory research

Principal Investigator: Pruys, Sarah (1)
Licence Number: 16307
Organization: Simon Fraser University
Licenced Year(s): 2018
Issued: May 18, 2018
Project Team: Sarah Pruys (Researcher, Simon Fraser University, South Slave Divisional Education Council)

Objective(s): To explore established and emerging research on how Intellectual Property Rights and Traditional Knowledge interact in Canada and across the world.

Project Description: The first objective of this research is to explore established and emerging research on how Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Traditional Knowledge (TK) interact in Canada and across the world, and examine what solutions have been proposed thus far. The Principal Investigator (PI) will build on this research by working in collaboration with local Indigenous communities using a community-based participatory research methodology.

Fort Smith and Fort Resolution have Elders and community members who have written, illustrated, and translated hundreds of books for the South Slave Divisional Education Council. As such, these communities have a heightened awareness of how TK and copyright protocols can work together. The PI will ask community members qualitative questions, placing higher value on the knowledge Elders share, to determine what their communities need shared protocols to accomplish, how TK is best protected, and how protocols can be accessible to the community and to publishers.

Following a review of literature, recommendations, and protocols in place in other jurisdictions; this research will have the assistance of a community-based participatory research methodology in the Dene Dedline´ (Chipewyan) communities in the South Slave region of the NWT. These communities have a heightened awareness of how TK and copyright frameworks can work together. The PI will speak with community members, placing more value on the knowledge Elders share, to determine what they need shared protocols to accomplish and what form they suggest the protocols take.

The deliverables of this research will take the form of a project report, which will be a case-study on how the communities develop and share protocols that govern the publication of traditional knowledge. This report will act as both an educational framework for other communities looking develop and share their own protocols, and will be a learning tool for publishers wanting to be more informed on best-practices when working with Indigenous-related texts.

The project report will be published electronically on Simon Fraser University's open-access system. The PI will also share electronic and hard-copy versions of the final report with participating band offices, along with electronic copies to any other interested communities, band offices, or individuals across the NWT.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 18, 2018 to August 31, 2018.