Information for students and other first-time visitors who land on this website.

Tracking data reveal that the WONC? website is occasionally being integrated into research assignments for students in information sciences, anthropology, Native studies, cultural studies, and other disciplines. I'm delighted that students find the site useful. As I explained in a brief Anthropology News essay in 2003, that was my intention and my hope.

Despite how the site may have been represented to you, this is not a blog. I have occasionally posted personal statements (such as this one) and used it to give my book Who Owns Native Culture? a presence on the web. For the last few years, however, it has largely served as a way to call attention to innovative scholarship by others and to developments in the general area of indigenous rights and, in particular, indigenous IP rights. That limits me to open-access sources and material in the public domain, although I sometimes also point visitors in the direction of new books. People in search of true blogs exploring these themes may wish to visit the sites identified on the index page.

Indigenous IP may be losing some of its salience as a public issue. This could be because it is falling out of fashion as a self-defined social problem. It could be because the most egregious violations of indigenous intellectual and cultural property have been so vigorously protested that appropriators are now more cautious than they were in the past. Perhaps the issue has moved to a quiet phase as indigenous communities and organizations develop protocols and legal mechanisms to defend their interests. Whatever the reason, if it becomes apparent to me that the issue has exhausted itself, I'll mothball the site. Until then, I continue to update the "News" section two or three times a month.

As always, I welcome suggestions about public-access material suitable for posting here.

Michael F. Brown
Williams College
Williamstown, MA 01267 USA