to review by Richard A. Shweder in the New York Times Book Review,
September 14, 2003, or download pdf
of original article.
about Who Owns Native Culture? published in the New York
Times Book Review (Oct. 5, 2003) and my response.
by Adrian Ellis, AEA Consulting, from The Platform 3 (3),
by Julie Ardery in The Texas Observer, January 16, 2004.
of Michael F. Brown by Marren Sanders, in the Suffolk University
Law School Journal of High Technology Law, 2003-2004 (pdf
by Dana Neacsu in the New York Law Journal, May 2004.
of book by Hans Ingvar Roth, December 2003. It's in Swedish, and
I confess I have no idea what it says.
Review by Jody L. Gray, in College & Research Libraries, American Library Association website, September 2004.
Review by Paul C. Rosier in the Journal of American History, December 2004 (requires library or personal subscription for access to complete review).
Review by Michele Grossman in JAS Review of Books/Australian Public Intellectual Network, 2004.
Review by Stephen B. Brush in Current Anthropology, December 2004 (pdf)
Two reviews from law journals, 2004.
Review by Dawn Biddison in the Journal of American Ethnic History, Summer 2004.
Joint review of WONC? and Karen R. Merrill's Public Lands and Political Meaning: Ranchers, the Government, and the Property Between Them (U Cal. P, 2002) by Carol Rose in the Yale Law Journal 114 (5), March 2005 (29-page pdf file).
Review by Tyler Cowen in the Journal of Cultural Economics, 28: 317-323, 2004 (pdf).
Review by Catherine Alexander in the Political and Legal Anthropology Review 27 (2), 2004 (16-page pdf).
Review by Daniel Thomas Cook in the American Journal of Sociology 110 (6), 2005 (3 page pdf).
Review by David Trigger in the Australian Journal of Anthropology 16(2), 2005 (3 page pdf).
Review by Gary Wheeler in Museum Anthropology 28 (2), 2003 (4 page pdf; actual publication date is 2005).
Review by Patrick J. O'Keefe in the International Journal of Cultural Property 12:114-117, 2005 (pdf).
Review by Kenneth H. Lokensgard in the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 7, Winter 2005 (pdf)
Review by Tom Greaves in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal 29 (1): 144-147, 2005.
Review by Bernhard Wörrle in Anthropos 101 (1): 257-258, 2006, in German (pdf).
Review by Luis A. Vivanco in the Journal of Latin American Anthropology 11 (1): 242-244, 2006.
Extended comment on book by Richard Cox in Records & Information Management Report, February 2004--but posted here in 2006.
Review by Jason Baird Jackson in the Journal of American Folklore 119, 2006.
Review by Joana de Freitas Lins in cadernos de campo, São Paolo, 2006.
Review by Angela M. Haas in Computers and Composition 27, 2010.
Choice, April 2004. Toward the end of his book, Brown
(anthropology, Williams College) points to a compelling paradox:
"Advocates of the indigenous 'we own our culture' perspective
find themselves in the odd position of criticizing corporate capitalism
while at the same time espousing capitalism's commodifying logic."
Brown documents and discusses the myriad disputes over culture in
the US and other societies with indigenous populations. The canvas
is broad, encompassing indigenous grievances regarding identity,
religion and sacred places, botanical knowledge, and art and representation.
This is an excellent guide to conflicting logics and to what occurs
when "culture" is transformed from an abstraction into
something as apparently tangible and immutable as "heritage."
This outstanding book is also a plea for flexibility in civil society
and social justice for First Nations. As Brown observes, segregation
has never worked, and in our interconnected world (in which indigenous
peoples increasingly live mainstream lives), regimes of strict separation
hardly furnish a model for the global cultural commons. What is
needed are norms and practices that reinforce both pluralism and
liberal democratic values. All whose research addresses questions
of indigenous rights are urged to read this book. Summing Up:
Highly recommended. All levels/collections.
Pi-Sunyer, U Mass Amherst
The Vancouver Sun, November
Column by George Fetherling, "So many books, so little
time: In a single week I read about chefs, swords, petroglyphs,
and Northrop Frye."
. . . ] Tuesday: I learn a good deal from Michael F. Brown's book
Who Owns Native Culture? (Harvard University Press, 315 pages,
US$29.95). Brown is a U.S. anthropologist who's taken on the unenviable
position of mediator. He tries, on philosophical, legal and scholarly
grounds, to find a middle path between Aboriginal people who demand
the return of their cultural patrimony and whites who, until recently,
have considered themselves its custodians and conservators.
do this, he looks at trends and argument worldwide and takes case
studies from four of the "settler democracies": the U.S.,
Mexico, Canada and Australia.
great the distance by which it falls short of perfection, Canada
comes off well in Brown's study. He looks at the way the Snuneymuxw
First Nation secured trademark status for petroglyphs on Gabriola
Island to prevent sacrilege and commercial exploitation. That would
apparently be more difficult to do in the U.S.
contrast, some Inuit communities have been less successful at winning
official acceptance for the concept of traditional ecological knowledge
(called TEK), because some white law- and policymakers consider
it too nebulous, too bound up with spiritual matters, for translation
into statute, or even case law.
the Chronicle of Higher Education, September 12, 2003
In 1997, the
Aboriginal painter Johnny Bulun Bulun sued an Australian textile
company for copyright infringement of his work. In both a legal
and a moral sense, the artist also brought his clan to the courtroom.
What was at stake, his lawyers argued, was more than the unauthorized
reproduction of the entrancing stripes, swirls, and dots of "Magpie
Geese and Waterlilies at the Waterhole." Illicit use, they
said, endangered the Ganalbingu clan's relationship to the spirits
that inhabited their land. To make that point, a clan leader was
registered as a second plaintiff, moving the case beyond a single
creator's complaint and asserting the community's equal ownership
of the art.
Bulun Bulun case is just one example of how intellectual-property
law is becoming central to the struggles of indigenous peoples,
notes Michael F. Brown, author of Who Owns Native Culture?
(Harvard University Press). Copyrights, patents, trademarks, and
the like are increasingly invoked in efforts to protect cultural
heritage, tangible and intangible, from artworks to botanical knowledge.
Mr. Brown, a professor of anthropology and Latin American studies
at Williams College, uses case studies from the Americas, the Antipodes,
and elsewhere to consider what might be a reasonable notion of "cultural
privacy" that balances both indigenous and wider interests.
For the former, he asks, what are the cultural consequences of emulating
the proprietary logic of capitalism? For all of us, he urges the
importance of a global cultural and intellectual commons.
over indigenous heritage have often involved more than objects or
knowledge. They have frequently involved space. The author's exploration
of conflicts over sacred sites on public lands sheds light on his
general approach to cultural disputes: political and indeed politic
negotiation. One example he offers deals with Devils Tower National
Monument, a 1,267-foot-high monolith in Wyoming. A clash between
rock climbers and area Indians who use the site as a place of worship
led to an unusual compromise. The National Park Service instituted
a moratorium on climbing for the entire month of June. The policy
is voluntary, so as not to violate the First Amendment ban on the
government's favoring any given religion. But despite rabid opposition
by some climbers, it has been a success. Climbing in June is down
more than 80 percent from what it was before the policy took effect,
in 1996. A partial, provisional fix, Mr. Brown agrees, and no doubt
inelegant. But it is a solution, he argues, that offers hope.--Nina
Library Journal, August 2003
what extent can indigenous peoples protect cultural symbols as a
proprietary resource? Brown (anthropology, Williams College; The
Channeling Zone: New Age Spirituality in America) explores this
complex question as it is emerging through recent legal cases in
North America, Mexico, and Australia. He provides numerous examples,
from the claim to the Zia symbol by the Pueblo people in New Mexico
to sensitive Native American photographs and sound recordings collected
in museums and archives. The solutions, Brown suggests, come not
through court battles or legal regulations but from locally negotiated
compromise between the differing parties. Taken together, the featured
court cases make a balanced, accessible contribution to an area
of scholarship about which little is written for lay readers. The
index (not seen) should be a useful accompaniment to the extensive
notes and brief bibliography. Recommended for academic and larger
public libraries.--Nancy Turner, Syracuse Univ. Lib.