Thursday, April 3, 2008

Society for Applied Anthropology 2008: Indigenous Peoples Summary

Over the last week and a half I was in Memphis, TN for the annual Society for Applied Anthropology meetings. The theme of this years meeting was "The Public Sphere and Engaged Scholarship: Opportunities and Challenges for Applied Anthropology." The meetings were a smashing success - I received a lot of positive feedback about not only Indigenous Peoples Issues Today and the work everyone has put into it, but also about the new project: Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources.

Of course, there was the Intellectual Property Rights, Technology, and Indigenous Peoples: Perspectives from and on the Public Sphere session that I chaired on Wednesday. Although late in the day (5:30 pm), there was great turnout as Kathy M'Closkey talked about how rugs are being woven in Mexico and sold in the United States as Navajo and Nancy Parezo discussed intellectual property rights and images available over the internet. Tressa Berman, another participant, delved into Aboriginal "signatures" and the intellectual property issues behind "authorship" in indigenous people's art. Finally, Tom Greaves provided a lucid discussion summary - pointing out that great strides have been achieved via collaborative efforts between applied social scientists and indigenous peoples.

Another great session was held on Friday entitled "Understanding Bio and Cultural Diversity in the Andes: The Potential for Traditional Knowledge to Shape Local and Global Policy." Chaired by Patricia J. Hammer, the panel covered lessions in traditional Andean nutritional knowledge (by Megan M. Bond), how tuberculosis and respiratory infections are traditionally dealt with in rural Andean communities (by Alexander Fehr), and various current mechanisms for discussing and including Andean indigenous traditional knowledge.

More is coming in the next post:

- The American Indian, Alaskan and Hawaiian Native, and First Nation Topical Interest Group discussion and concerns over the National Park Service's actions.

- Indigenous Communities and Anthropologists: Creative Applications of Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology in Addressing Indigenous Concerns.

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