Event Date and Time
Woods Hall, Room 1102
Please join us for the talk "From Creative Commons to Local Contexts: The Passamaquoddy Connection" given by Jane Anderson, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies at New York University. The talk will take place Wednesday, April 25 at 3:00 PM in Woods Hall, Room 1102, University of Maryland.
Dr. Anderson is the final speaker for the 2017–2018 UMD Heritage Lectures series, co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Program in Historic Preservation. Her research is focused on the philosophical and practical problems for intellectual property law and the protection of Indigenous/traditional knowledge resources and cultural heritage in support of Indigenous knowledge sovereignty. Jane has worked as an Expert Consultant for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on a number of policy proposals for the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. Since 2007 she has actively worked with and for Native American and First Nation communities to develop strategies and regain control and cultural authority of cultural heritage held within cultural institutions in the United States. Her books and legal monographs include the Routledge Companion to Cultural Property (2017), Safeguarding Cultural Heritage and Protecting Traditional Cultural Expressions (WIPO, 2010), and Law, Knowledge, Culture: The Production of Indigenous Knowledge in Intellectual Property Law (2009). For more info and links to her publications, you may visit her website http://www.jane-anderson.info

Almost all the problems that now exist in relation to Indigenous/Native American ethnographic collections and intellectual property law have their legacies in the uneven and unequal research practices that made Indigenous peoples subjects for research and study. This meant that Indigenous peoples lost ownership and control over material, aural and visual representations of their cultures. Consequently, Indigenous peoples have been largely excluded from the extensive meaning-making processes rendering the complexity of their cultures ‘knowable’ to a range of ‘publics’ who have had access to these collections. This absence and structural exclusion has led to substantial mistakes and misunderstandings in knowledge production, in collection management, in representation, in classification and within established educational paradigms seeking to translate and understand the complexity of Indigenous peoples and cultures.

In the increasing movement of these collections into digital formats, the new rights that are generated only compound the legal problems of adequately responding to Native/First Nations concerns about ownership and circulation of materials. These legal entanglements impede access and use and make already difficult negotiations with institutions and other rights holders even harder. There are very few resources available for communities to find information about legal and extra-legal solutions as they apply to these kinds of collections. The Local Contexts platform is one digital tool that was developed to  provide information about IP law as well as a range of template documents to assist communities in building their unique strategies for negotiating ownership and cultural authority over these collections. This presentation will discuss the development of this platform and new models of collaborative curation that cultural institutions need to embrace. The significance and necessity of this work will be framed through the new online record at the Library of Congress, of the first ethnographic sound recordings from the Passamaquoddy community sung by Peter Selmore and Noel Joseph and made in 1890 by Jesse Walter Fewkes.  See: https://loc.gov/item/2015655578

Anderson flier