August 2010

A handbook for the Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas Registry
Colleen Corrigan and Arianna Granziera
UNEP-WCMC (May 2010) | ISBN: 978-92-807-3075-3

This handbook is written primarily for the members of the communities that continue to govern Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs) and wish to increase global awareness of their conservation efforts and results. The main element of this process is the ICCA Registry, which consists of a database and an interactive website. Communities that agree to include their ICCAs in the registry will be able to manage the level of access to any information they provide. The handbook also provides an overview of ICCAs and the ICCA Registry to a wider audience.

Communities often view the governance and management of ICCAs as essential to their well-being and survival because they address interests and concerns including: securing sustainable access to livelihood resources; sustaining the benefits of ecosystem functions; sustaining religious, cultural and identity needs; protecting wildlife; securing collective land tenure for the community; and obtaining financial benefits. The role of ICCAs is also gaining significance in light of climate change and the need to develop adaptation techniques. Download the handbook [pdf] … Visit the ICCA website …

Manitopyes: Our survival depends on indigenous knowledge
Indian Country Today, 20 August 2010

NEW YORK, USA: This article by Alvin Manitopyes includes the first in a series of excerpts from the first International Roundtable Supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge, held at the Turtle Lodge on the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba in early summer 2010, where traditional healers, elders and spiritual leaders from around the world gathered to share knowledge and encourage respect for traditional teachings. Among others, the author notes that people around the world are starting to recognize that traditional indigenous knowledge has many lessons that can be shared so that all can benefit; and that traditional knowledge is the very strength of indigenous peoples’ identity. Read the article …

Biocultural Diversity and Indigenous Ways of Knowing: Human Ecology in the Arctic
Karim-Aly S. Kassam
University of Calgary Press (May 2009) | ISBN: 978-1-55238-253-0

A narrative of community-based research, this book deals with issues including climate change, indigenous knowledge, and the impact of natural resource extraction. Author Karim-Aly Kassam aims to empirically and theoretically illustrate the synthesis between the cultural and biological, using human ecology as a conceptual and analytical lens. Drawing on research carried out in partnership with indigenous northern communities, three case studies illustrate that subsistence hunting and gathering are not relics of an earlier era, but rather remain essential to both cultural diversity and to human survival. Further information …

Ethnobotany in the New Europe: People, Health and Wild Plant Resources
Manuel Pardo-de-Santayana, Andrea Pieroni and Rajindra K. Puri (eds)
Berghahn Books (June 2010) | ISBN: 978-1-84545-456-2

The study of European wild food plants and herbal medicines is an old discipline that has been invigorated by a new generation of researchers pursuing ethnobotanical studies in fresh contexts. Currently, European folk botany is dynamically responding to changing cultural, economic, and political contexts. The authors and studies presented in this book reflect work being conducted across Europe’s many regions. They tell the story of the on-going evolution of human-plant relations in one of the most bioculturally dynamic places on the planet, and explore new approaches that link the re-evaluation of plant-based cultural heritage with the conservation and use of biocultural diversity. Further information …

Peru-Bolivia: Indigenous universities gain foothold
University World News, 22 August 2010

LONDON, UK: The first higher education institution for Peru’s indigenous population, the Aymara, will soon become a reality. The goal for the university’s proponents is to improve access to and the quality of education for indigenous people and train them as professionals who will then be better able to improve the socioeconomic situations of their communities. “Historically, indigenous languages and other native forms of knowledge have been marginalized and stigmatized in Latin America,” said Maria Elena García, a professor at the University of Washington, whose research focuses on the Andean region and who sees the new university as part of a larger “decolonizing” movement across the Americas. Read the article …

How an 1,800-year-old herbal mix heals the gut
Nature news, 18 August 2010

LONDON, UK: An age-old mixture of four herbs could spare patients with cancer some of the side effects of chemotherapy. The cocktail comprises Chinese peonies, Chinese liquorice, the fruit of the Chinese date tree and flowers of the Chinese skullcap plant. In China, they call it ‘Huang Qin Tang’ and have used it to treat gastrointestinal problems for about 1,800 years. A start-up pharmaceutical company called PhytoCeutica has dubbed its proprietary pill of the blend ‘PHY906’, and shown in early clinical trials that the mix can combat the severe diarrhoea caused by many chemotherapy drugs, which destroy fast-dividing gut cells in addition to tumour cells. Now, researchers at PhytoCeutica and Yale University School of Medicine, both in New Haven, Connecticut, have some early leads on how PHY906 does this, despite the fact that most of its individual chemical components remain unknown. “This is a new paradigm of drug development,” says Yung-Chi Cheng, a pharmacologist at Yale and head scientific adviser to PhytoCeutica. “It’s a typical example of West meets East.” Read the article …

‘Yoga wars’ spoil spirit of ancient practice, Indian agency says
The Washington Post, 23 August 2010

WASHINGTON, USA: More than 30 million Americans practice some sort of yoga in an ever-expanding industry generating an estimated $6 billion in the United States alone. But in the birthplace of yoga, an Indian government agency is fighting what it calls “yoga theft” after several U.S. companies said they wanted to copyright or patent their versions. Yoga is a part of humanity’s shared knowledge, the agency says, and any business claiming the postures as its own is violating the very spirit of the ancient practice. India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library has gathered a team of yogis from nine schools and 200 scientists to scan ancient texts, including the writings of Patanjali, thought to be the original compiler of yoga sutras. The group is documenting more than 900 yoga postures and making a video catalogue of 250 of the most popular ones, from sun salutation to downward-facing dog. The catalogue will be released next month and given to the international patent system, which yoga gurus in India say is essential in an age when cultural traditions can cross borders instantaneously. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted at least 131 patents on the subject of yoga, most for books and yoga mats. The database of registered and pending trademarks lists 3,700 trademarks but no specific patents on postures or variations of postures, the government agency said. Read the article …

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