Appropriation of indigenous property by corporationsand sport teamsBY MONIKA SOSNOWSKANovember 9, 2010The use of the Abori...
Peter Mattsson. The Bella Coola Heli Sports          According to BBC (2009), the Maori tribes ofCompany blatantly exploit...
within their community. By supporting the            ReferencesAboriginal people in this quest, we not only         Bella ...
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Appropriation of indigenous property by corporations and sport teams (2010)

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The use of the Aboriginal folklore, including images and dances, by the corporate business or sports world advertising is unethical, even if it is meant to reflect the ethnic nature of the locale on which these businesses are based out of. Additionally, I believe that the indigenous people should also be recognized as the rightful owners of the property and receive financial compensation if they welcome the opportunity to share their intellectual property with corporations and sport teams.

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Appropriation of indigenous property by corporations and sport teams (2010)

  1. 1. Appropriation of indigenous property by corporationsand sport teamsBY MONIKA SOSNOWSKANovember 9, 2010The use of the Aboriginal folklore, includingimages and dances, by the corporate business orsports world advertising is unethical, even if it ismeant to reflect the ethnic nature of the locale onwhich these businesses are based out of.Additionally, I believe that the indigenouspeople should also be recognized as the rightfulowners of the property and receive financialcompensation if they welcome the opportunity toshare their intellectual property withcorporations and sport teams.According to Dambiec (2005), folklore consistsof dances, artwork, literature and music.Typically no known author exists to claimfolklore as their own (Saskatoon Public SchoolsOnline Learning Centre, online). Providing traditional artwork in a logo of the Bella Coolacorporations and sport teams with access to this Heli Sports Company (online), by the prominententity, without the proper consultation from the display of the logo used in all companyrightful owners, may further expose it to those advertisements, online and in print. Theon a quest to yield monetary gain As observed conventional First Nations eagle image in theby Brown (n.d.) in today’s highly technological logo is offensive to the Aboriginal people ofage, the threat to Aboriginal people does not Bella Coola, who are not accountable for thenecessarily come from deliberate abuse, but company and did not approve the usage of theirfrom a distribution of their cultural images and traditional artwork. This may also be deceivingfolklore; in some cases accurate and in others to the consumers, who are mislead to believecompletely distorted. that they are supporting the entrepreneurial efforts of the Aboriginal people in BritishAn example of exploitation of cultural property Columbia, when in fact the company is actuallyin British Columbia is the wrongful use of the owned and operated by a Swedish entrepreneur,APPROPRIATION OF INDIGENOUS PROPERTY BY CORPORATIONS AND SPORT TEAMS 1
  2. 2. Peter Mattsson. The Bella Coola Heli Sports According to BBC (2009), the Maori tribes ofCompany blatantly exploits the Aboriginal New Zealand provide a well-known case ofculture, land and people in hopes of attracting intellectual property being used by a teamclientele (First Nations Land Rights, online). without the permission of the rightful owners.Since no law forbids the use of a particular style The Maori haka war dance was used by theof art, the First Nations people of Bella Coola Kiwis, the national rugby team, prior to eachare not able to prevent the usage of their major game. The dance, created by chief Tetraditional images. Rauparaha, is the property of the Maori nations. In spite of that, the haka war dance wasAnother example can be found in non- commercially exploited and televised withoutAboriginal websites in British Columbia. Prior the tribes’ permission (BBC, 2009). In this case,to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics Games, the team financially prospered while the Maorithe Internet was engulfed with a multitude of tribe received neither acknowledgement of theirmisleading First Nations websites. Eager to property nor any financial reparation.encourage big business during the Olympics, theBritish Columbia government used images of In another case, the Maori tribes had toAboriginal people in advertising and in creation commence legal proceedings against Lego, theof websites such as First Nations (www.first- Danish toy company, when Lego unlawfullynations.com), while at the same time the true patented parts of the Maori culture in Bionicle,account of the government’s past relations with the virtual game available on the Internet (BBC,the indigenous residents was suppressed (First 2001). The plaintiffs won the litigations againstNations Land Rights, online). both the Kiwis and Lego; however, these two incidents clearly demonstrate what can occurOne needs to keep in mind that the traditional when corporate businesses and sport teams gainnarratives, dances and artwork of indigenous access to private intellectual property.people pay homage to all living things, includingancestors, animals and nature; all believed to be It is my belief that corporations and sport teamsinterconnected (PBS, online). The dances can be are able to be inclusive and reflective of theeasily appropriated by sport teams as their ethnic nature of the locale they operate onownership is not clearly defined. In turn, the without extorting the indigenous culture. Theteams may incorporate these dances to unify Aboriginal communities should be providedtheir fan base and create a “team identity,” with the option of which parts of their culturewhere all enthusiasts associate a dance with the are to be shared with the rest of the public andparticular team and not their rightful owners. which parts should remain for the private usageAPPROPRIATION OF INDIGENOUS PROPERTY BY CORPORATIONS AND SPORT TEAMS 2
  3. 3. within their community. By supporting the ReferencesAboriginal people in this quest, we not only Bella Coola Heli Sports Company, Retrieved Septebmerencourage the further growth of their culture, but 24, 2010, from http://www.bellacoolahelisports.com/also initiate trust-building process between the Brown, M. (1998). Cultural Records in Question: Information and Its Moral Dilemmas. Cultural Resourcecorporations and the indigenous populace. Most Management National Park Service Vol. 21 (6)importantly, we lend a hand in preventing the Dambiec, D. (2005). Indigenous People’s Folklore andcommercial exploitation of the Aboriginal Copyright Law. Media Monitors. Retrieved September 24, 2010, fromculture. http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/20295 Disinherited. (n.d.). First Nations: Land Rights and Environmentalist in British Columbia. Retrieved SeptemberAuthor Bio 24, 2010, from http://www.firstnations.eu/indian_land/disinherited.htmMonika Sosnowska, is a communicationsprofessional specializing in public relations, Lego agrees to stop using Maori names.(2001). BBC. Retrieved September 24, 2010, fromsocial media and marketing and the Founder and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1627209.stmPresident of MSE Communications located in Many Voices. (n.d.). PBS.. Retrieved September 24, 2010, from http://www.pbs.org/circleofstories/voices/index.htmlVancouver, BC. She is vastly experienced incorporate development of social media policy New Zealand Maori win haka fight.(2009). BBC. Retrieved September 24, 2010, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-and media outreach plans that optimize the /2/hi/asia-pacific/7882775.stmsuccess of marketing campaigns. Ms. Sosnowska, M. (2009). Untitled image of First Nations art.Sosnowska studied Communication, Art andTechnology at Capilano University and Simon Using First Nations literature in the classroom. (2004). Saskatoon Public Schools Online Learning Centre.Fraser University with an area of concentration Retrieved September 24, 2010, from http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/resources/firstnationsliterature/oralin Political Economy & Policy and Media, tradition.htmlCulture & Society. Monika is passionate aboutphotography and writing, with a primary focuson social science, culture and urban issues.APPROPRIATION OF INDIGENOUS PROPERTY BY CORPORATIONS AND SPORT TEAMS 3

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