South and Meso American Indian Rights Center

Protecting What's Ours:
Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity

Finally a biodiversity guidebook written for Indigenous peoples

Compiled and edited by David Rothschild

"We need to be part of these [scientific] projects because the knowledge that they are taking from us is from our people, from our forests"
— Interview with Eudicio Castillo, page 78

Protecting Whatís Ours: Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity is designed specifically for use by indigenous peoples and organizations. Its introductory discussion of the issues surrounding biodiversity is simultaneously accessible and comprehensive. Written in plain language from an indigenous point of view, the book explores major indigenous concerns about biodiversity. It defines and discusses bioprospecting, intellectual property rights, the Human Genome Diversity Project, and agricultural diversity. The book also overviews international instruments dealing with biodiversity and indicates how these can be potentially utilized by indigenous in the struggle to conserve biodiversity and control the commercialization of knowledge and resources.

Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity also includes three particularly compelling interviews with leaders of indigenous organizations that deal with biodiversity issues. Marcela Mendieta of the Bartolomť Aripayalla Association discusses her organizationís work conserving seed diversity with the Quispillacta in Peru. Eudicio Castillo talks about the Projecto de Estudio para el Manejo de Areas Silvestres de Kuna Yala (PEMASKY), which acts to conserve and regulate access to biodiversity in Kuna territory in Panama. And Leonardo Vitieri of the Amazanga Institute of Science and Technology discusses his organizationís work on environmental impact statements and educational programs with the Quichua and Shiviar in Ecuador. These three interviews present various strategies, concerns, and goals of indigenous groups working to conserve biodiversity and protect against bioprospecting on indigenous lands. In addition, there are suggestions for the establishment of indigenous guidelines on these issues, an extensive glossary of terminology, and valuable appendices that contain relevant parts of international agreements on biodiversity for indigenous peoples and groups.

Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity draws a clear picture for indigenous of issues and possible strategies in conserving biodiversity. It is an invaluable resource in the struggle for control and conservation of knowledge and genetic resources.

Made possible by the Foundation for Deep Ecology.

A book produced by the South and Meso American Indian Rights Center.

$10 plus tax and postage. We must receive your check or money order payable to SAIIC before we can send you the book.

For information on distribution, please contact SAIIC at:

P.O. Box 7829
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 534 4882 (Administration Office)
(510) 834 4263 (Abya Yala News)
(510) 834 4264 Fax

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