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8. Forthcoming Meetings

Protecting Knowledge: Traditional Resource Rights in the New Millenium, Vancouver, Canada, 24-26 February 2000

Hosted by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs with support from the Law Foundation of British Columbia and Legal Services Society of British Columbia

First Nations House of Learning, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is hosting a three-day legal conference exploring traditional resource rights, or cultural and intellectual property rights issues affecting all Indigenous Peoples. The target audience will be BC First Nation community members and workers, representatives from Indigenous Peoples from around the world as well as the traditional resource rights and academic communities.

The conference is tentatively focused on exploring and clarifying the following three questions within an international context:

What is indigenous cultural and intellectual property? What rights do BC First Nations want recognized? Can BC First Nations communities develop their own system(s) for protecting traditional resource rights?

This is a new and developing area of law that is not widely understood yet it affects Indigenous Peoples where they live and on a daily basis. The World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization hope to introduce draft amendments on Indigenous Peoples' knowledge during the TRIPs review in 2000.

The conference format will consist of an international level overview, an exploration of how such issues are being dealt within different jurisdictions by using three-member panels and an attempt to demonstrate how different issues are experienced at the community level with case studies.

It will include, among much else:

Ecotourism Panel
Does ecotourism benefit local communities? Does it benefit the environment? Or does it perpetuate patterns of power and dominance that are destructive of the environment and of the people?

Art Panel
The cultural designs and motifs of our communities communicate our ideas and beliefs. Can such images be "owned" by a community or by an artist? What are the consequences when they are expropriated and mass-produced? Can the current legal tools of copyrights, patents and trademarks protect the cultural integrity of such images?

Forest Resources Panel
What are Forest Resources? How can Forest Resources be protected? Does such protection afford "sustainable management"?

Repatriation Panel
The repatriation of cultural objects is important to many communities. This session will ask how are different communities dealing with repatriation? What are the obstacles? What are the strategies?

Nonlegal Instruments Panel
Are there alternatives to the legal system that communities can use to protect their territories? Alternatives include non-legal, market-related measures. This session will introduce such measures like investment screens, shareholder advocacy, consumer action and product certification.

Oral History Panel
Songs, dances, names and stories tell us who we are. What happens when oral history is shared? What happens when there is a breach of confidentiality? Should there be more community control of research projects? What are the ways to protect oral history?

International Human Rights Overview
A brief look at international human rights and the effectiveness of international efforts like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

International Biodiversity Overview
What do international efforts like The Convention of Biological Diversity and the Rio Declaration mean at the community level? This is meant to be an overview of what is happening on the international level.

What is Article 8(j)?
Article 8(j) of The Convention of Biological Diversity obliges the signatories to essentially acknowledge the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), traditional lifestyles and sustainability, the promotion of the idea of consent in the use of TEK and the idea of benefit sharing and customary use. This is a closer look of what Article 8(j) means at the community level.

Medicinal Plants Panel
The value of medicinal plants go beyond health. The cultural and spiritual values of the knowledge of medicinal plants cannot be discounted. What happens when medicinal plant knowledge is shared? Is it ethnobotany? Can one simply separate the medicinal qualities from the cultural context?

Sacred Sites Panel
The major issues for Sacred Sites include unrestricted access; site protection; privacy; and the integrity of the ecosystem. What strategies can we learn from those communities who are willing to share their experiences?

Biopiracy Case Study
What is biopiracy or biodiversity prospecting? How does it impact Indigenous Peoples' rights in terms of Intellectual Property Rights laws? Are such laws adequate or appropriate? What examples or instances can we learn from?

Biodiversity Panel
Biodiversity conservation is becoming more and more difficult. Technological change and the commercialization of biological resources have raised fundamental scientific, economic, socio-political and ethical questions. This panel will discuss their experiences and answer questions based on their experiences.

How can communities respond to the growing concerns regarding Intellectual Property? One way is through the use of Indigenous Peoples' declarations. This proposed session will help those who are interested, considering and/or planning on drafting such a declaration.

International Legal Review
A review of the importance and relevance to communities of legally binding international agreements like the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; The World Heritage Convention; and the Rome Convention.

TRIPs Review
An examination of the Gatt Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Why is this important at the community level?

Repatriation Case Study
This proposed session is meant to be a follow-up to the Repatriation Panel discussion and will look in detail how one community has dealt with repatriation. What did they do in order to be successful in the repatriation of their community objects? What are the problems that they are encountering?

Drafting a Community Intellectual Rights Act
In 1994, a Third World Network discussion paper (Nijar 1994) suggested the concept of a community intellectual rights act. The idea of the act would be to prevent the "privatisation and usurpation of community rights and knowledge through existing definitions of innovations." This proposed session will look at the purpose and the thinking of how such an act would work at the community level.

Nonlegal Instruments Case Study
This proposed session will explore how nonlegal instruments have been used at the community level. Did the community use investment screens, shareholder advocacy, consumer action or product certification to protect their territory? What were the considerations? What were the benefits? What were the costs?

Do Pharmaceutical Agreements work?
There are several companies who have embarked on extensive bioprospecting expedition programs. Some have signed Pharmaceutical Agreements with Indigenous communities. Some of these agreements are made under the auspices of The International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Program which is a U.S. Government funded effort to promote equitable sharing of biodiversity benefits in the context of integrated research and development toward drug discovery, biodiversity, conservation and economic development. Do these type of agreements work?

We invite you to forward any suggestions you may have about the proposed sessions, possible panel speakers, resource people or appropriate papers and documents that would be suitable for inclusion in the conference kit.

We will be updating our website with links to sites and papers related to the conference theme. As well, we will be using an email list to keep those who wish to be kept informed. To subscribe to the list send an email to research(at) with the words "Subscribe Protect" in the subject line.

The resources of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs are limited but we are committed to delivering this conference as a public service to all Indigenous Peoples. If you are in a position to contribute to or support this timely initiative in any way, we look forward to hearing from you.

Donald Bain, Conference Coordinator

Phone: +1 (604) 684-0231 Fax: -5726
Email: research(at)

High Desert Linguistics Conference (Albuquerque, NM, April 7-9, 2000) (nordquis(at) 22 Nov 1999:

The third annual High Desert Linguistics Conference will be held at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, April 7-9, 2000. The keynote speakers will be Colette Grinevald and John Haiman. Proposals are invited for 20-minute talks and 10-minute discussion sessions in any area of linguistics from any theoretical perspective. Papers in the following areas are especially welcome: language change and variation, grammaticization, signed languages, Native American languages, and computational linguistics. Please note that selected papers from this conference will be published.

Submissions must include 2 copies of an anonymous abstract and an indexcard including the following information:

  • Name
  • Title of Abstract & area (phonology, syntax ...)
  • Affiliation(s)
  • Mailing address
  • e-mail address

    Abstracts must be at most one page with one-inch margins and typed inat least 11-point font. An optional second page is permitted for data and citations. Submissions are limited to one individual and one joint abstract per author. Abstracts may be submitted by e-mail. All submissions must be received no later than January 31, 2000, and will only be considered if they conform to the above guidelines.

    Send to HDLS, Dept Linguistics, 526 Humanities Bldg, U of New Mexico,Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA; or by e-mail to .

    Workshop on American Indigenous Languages UC Santa Barbara, April 14-16, 2000

    Paul T. Barthmaier (ptb0(at) 17 Nov 1999:


    The linguistics department at UC Santa Barbara announces its 3rd annual Workshop on American Indigenous Languages (WAIL-3), a forum for the dis- cussion of theoretical and descriptive linguistic studies of indigenous languages of the Americas. It will be held on the weekend of April 14-16, 2000.

    Anonymous abstracts are invited for talks on any topic in Native American linguistics. Talks will be 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for discussion. Individuals may submit abstracts for one single and one co- authored paper. Abstracts should be 500 words or less and can submitted by hard copy or e-mail.

    For hard copy submissions, please send five copies of the abstract and a 3x5 card with the following information: (1) name; (2) affiliation; (3) mailing address; (4) phone number; (5) e-mail address; and (6) title of paper. Send hard copy submissions to:

    Department of Linguistics
    University of California, Santa Barbara
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106

    E-mail submissions are encouraged. Include the information from the 3x5 card (above) in the body of the e-mail message, with the anonymous abstract as an attachment. Send e-mail submissions to:

    wail(at) The deadline for receipt of abstracts is January 30, 2000. Notification of acceptance will be by e-mail by February 15. For further information,contact the conference coordinator by e-mail at or by telephone at (805) 893-3776, or check out the WAIL website at:

    Stabilizing Indigenous Languages (Toronto, May 11-14, 2000)
    Barbara Burnaby (silc(at) 16 Nov 1999:

    For updated information and registration forms for the Seventh AnnualStabilizing Indigenous Languages Conference, to be held in Toronto, Ontario, on May 11-14, 2000, please visit:

    The Conference will be held at the Toronto Colony Hotel, hosted by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. The theme of the meeting will be "Language Across the Community," emphasizing the many ways in which all community members can become involved in indigenous language activities.

    Deadline for submission is March 31, 2000.

    Language, Interaction, and Culture, May 18-20, 2000 at UCLA.

    The Center for Language, Interaction, and Culture Graduate Student Association at UCLA and the Language, Interaction, and Social Organization Graduate Student Association at UCSB call for papers for The Fourth Annual Conference on Language, Interaction, and Culture to be held May 18-20, 2000 at UCLA.

    Papers should address topics at the intersection of language, interaction, and culture, and data should consist of naturally occurring behavior. Potential methods include, but are not limited to, conversation analysis, discourse analysis, and ethnographic methods. Send 3 copies of a 500-1,000 word extended abstract of the paper, including title, a brief description of methodology, and a description of the data, to arrive by February 14. No information identifying the author may appear in the abstract. Send to: CLIC Graduate Student Association University of California, Los Angeles Department of Applied Linguistics P.O. BOX 951531, 3300 Rolfe Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095-1531 USA.

    Nahuatl Summer Language Institute III, Yale, New Haven, Conn., USA, June 5 to July 28, 2000

    · Beginning-level intensive language training in Classical, colonial, and modern Nahuatl, Jonathan D. Amith language instructor

    · Intensive workshops of one to five days led by experts in the field of Nahuatl and Mesoamerican studies

    1. Louise Burkhart, SUNY-Albany, on religious texts and the translation of European concepts into the Nahuatl language
    2. Michael Coe, Yale University, on Aztec and Mesoamerican archaeology and ethnohistory
    3. Willard Gingerich, St. John’s University, on Nahuatl discourse and poetics
    4. Michel Launey, University of Paris, VII, on Classical Nahuatl grammar and literature
    5. Alan Sandstrom, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, on modern Nahuatl religion and ritual from a Huasteca Nahuatl community in Veracruz

    For application materials and further information, contact the coordinator of the Nahuatl Summer Language Institute at or call +1-503-831-3151, or see <>

    Athabaskan Languages Conference (Smithers, BC, June 8-10, 2000) Sharon Hargus (sharon(at) 29 Nov 1999:

    Next year's annual meeting of the Athabaskan Languages Conference will be held in Smithers and Moricetown, BC, Canada, June 9-10, 2000, preceded by a one-day workshop on Athabaskan prosody, June 8. A call for papers will be announced in February 2000. For further information contact Sharon Hargus, Linguistics, U of Washington (sharon(at)

    6th Himalayan Languages Symposium, U. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, June 15-17, 2000

    Papers at the 6th Himalayan Languages Symposium may report the results of scholarly research on any subject pertaining to the Himalayan languages and Himalayan language communities.

    The term 'Himalayan' is used in its broad sense to include north-western and north-eastern India, where languages of Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, and Austro-Asiatic linguistic stocks are spoken; the languages of Nepal, Bhutan and the Tibetan Plateau; the languages of northern Burma and Sichuan; and the languages of Nuristan, Baltistan and the Burushaski speaking area in the west. The term 'Languages' is used instead of 'Linguistics' to broaden the scope of the Symposium beyond linguistics proper so as to allow scholars working on language issues in the related disciplines of anthropology, philology, and archaeology to present their research wherever this is directly relevant to our understanding of Himalayan languages and language communities.

    Possible topics include:

  • descriptions of previously undescribed languages
  • linguistic analyses of phonetic, phono-logical and grammatical phenomena
  • comparative studies & historical reconstruction
  • Himalayan languages in typological perspective
  • language planning
  • the economic and cultural aspects of language preservation and language death
  • sociocultural aspect of borrowing
  • 'secret' languages
  • grammar & pragmatics of honorific speech
  • sociolinguistic & ethnolinguistic analyses
  • historical and archaeological findings relating to the prehistory of Himalayan language communities

    Workshops to promote dialog between Himalayanists & typologists will be organized by:

  • Matthew Dryer, SUNY-Buffalo
  • David Gil, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Ian Maddieson, UCLA

    The deadline for submission of abstracts is Feb. 1, 2000. Notifications of acceptance will sent out by March 1, 2000. Abstracts should be no longer than one page and should be of camera-ready quality. The author's name and affiliation should appear below the title of the paper. On a separate piece of paper, include mailing and email addresses.

    Preregistration: $40 for faculty, $20 for students and non-academics; registration at the conference: $45 for faculty, $25 for students and non-academics.

    Address abstracts, registration fees, and inquiries: Michael Noonan, Himalayan Languages Symposium, Dept. of English, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
    phone: +1-414-229-4511fax -2643

    The Permanent Secretariat for this annual Symposium is maintained at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Previously, the Himalayan Languages Symposium has been convened in Leiden, Noordwijkerhout [the Netherlands], Santa Barbara [California], Pune [India], and Kathmandu.

    Sixth International Conference on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster. The Queen's University of Belfast, 9th. - 13th. August 2000

    This conference is being organised on behalf of, and in conjunction with The Forum for Research on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster (Chair: Dr. J. Derrick McClure, University of Aberdeen). Otherwise details are as below: Second International Conference on the Languages of Ireland, Queen's University of Belfast. 12th - 16th August 2000

    (sequel to the First Conference, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, in June 1994)

    All those with an academic or professional interest are invited to submit abstracts of no more than one A4-sized page for papers (max. 20 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion), posters (5 minutes introduction plus display), panels, workshops or any other type of presentation.

    Closing date for abstracts (for both conferences): 31st January, 2000

    The scope of this conference is very broad. It offers a rare opportunity for specialists on the Scottish and Irish Gaelic sides to come together with those on the English and Scots sides, and for all these groups to come together with specialists in related languages (e.g. Old Norse, Old Frisian, Old French, Middle Welsh, Manx, etc.) and for those with a more general interest in theory, in linguistic variation and change, in socio- and ethnolinguistics, in language and politics, in literary and stylistic uses of dialect, in onomastics, and in the dialectology and mapping of other languages. There will be lots of scope for computer-based presentations.

  • Brand-new Hall of Residence Accommodation
  • Papers to be given in the brand-new Central Teaching Facility
  • Social Programme including Receptions and Excursions
  • Costs: Conference Fee £100; Accommodation and Meals £50.00 per day

    Details to follow in First Circular, to be issued in February 2000

    Organiser (for both conferences): Dr. John M. Kirk, School of English, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, BT7 1NN Northern Ireland

    Tel. (+44) (0)1232 273815
    Fax. 314615
    Email: J.M.Kirk(at)

    Organising Committee (for both conferences): John Kirk, Cathy Finlay, Alison Henry, Mícheál ÓMainnín