noun [ mass noun ]
the practice of commercially exploiting naturally occurring biochemical or genetic material, especially by obtaining patents that restrict its future use, while failing to pay fair compensation to the community from which it originates.
The US patent act clause 102 says that nothing can be patented if it is prior public knowledge. If the public has been aware of the material and its benefits, then it is not possible to patent. Clause 102 then goes on to define ‘public knowledge’ as only that of Americans’ and no one else. Not the billions of Indians, Native Americans or Africans, their knowledge. Their natural resources are not represented or protected by this act.
The process of assimilation of Native Americans by the outside world, which started centuries ago, continues to this day. One aspect of this continued assimilation is the change in traditional diets. As a result, our health has suffered greatly. Diabetes, cancer, kidney and liver failure, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, allergies, obesity, alcohol and drug addictions are but a few of the symptoms of living in this modern time. One can blame some of this on the environment and life styles, but much these symptoms come from what we put in our mouths. Native peoples are particularly susceptible to diabetes because of their inability to process refined sugar and carbohydrates. Over-processed and packages foods have become the normal diet. These foods contains high levels of sugar and ingredients that are heavily sprayed with chemicals, bleached, and genetically modified (GMO) which side effects are still being learned. These food products are harming to all people, but the Native populations are being hit the hardest because we were not used to eating European foods. Our bodies have not had the long evolutionary time to adjust and are suffering greatly because of it.
Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute put together a program in an attempt to address some of these health issues. A group of Native volunteers agreed to eat only their native foods for a determined period of time. Their health conditions were monitored. Improvement of their overall health was achieved while encouraging cultural preservation. The results will be used to show how eating this way might improve health. Recipes and food sources are being collected in order to share with others that might want to eat this way also.