Declaration of Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere
Regarding the Human Genome Diversity Project
We are the original peoples of the Western hemisphere of the
continents of North, Central, and South America. Our principles are
based upon our profound belief in the sacredness of all Creation,
both animate and inanimate. We live in a reciprocal relationship with
all life in this divine and natural order.
Our responsibility as Indigenous Peoples is to insure the
continuity of the natural order of all life is maintained for
generations to come.
We have a responsibility to speak for all life forms and to defend
the integrity of the natural order.
In carrying out these responsibilities we insure that all life in
its natural process and diversity continues in a reciprocal
relationship with us.
We hold precious all life in its natural form. The harmonious
progress of the natural order in the environment shapes and defines
healthy genetic diversity.
The principle of harmony requires that we do not violate the
principles of Creation by manipulating and changing the natural
Given that our natural relationship has been interfered with by
foreign or non-indigenous external forces in a long history of
destruction we have never abandoned those responsibilities.
In the long history of destruction which has accompanied western
colonization we have come to realize that the agenda of the non
indigenous forces has been to appropriate and manipulate the natural
order for the purposes of profit, power, and control.
To negate the complexity of any life form by isolating and
reducing it to its minute parts, western science and technologies
diminished its identity as a precious and unique life form, and
alters its relationship to the natural order.
Genetic technologies which manipulate and change the fundamental
core and identity of any life form is an absolute violation of these
principles, and creates the potential for unpredictable and therefore
Therefore, we the Indigenous Peoples and Organizations
participating in this meeting from North, Central, and South America
reject all programs involving genetic technology.
We particularly oppose the Human Genome Diversity Project which
intends to collect and make available our genetic materials which may
be used for commercial, scientific, and military purposes.
We oppose the patenting of all natural genetic materials. We hold
that life cannot be bought, owned, sold, discovered, or patented,
even in its smallest form.
We denounce and identify the instruments of intellectual property
rights, patent law, and apparatus of informed consent as tools of
legalized western deception and theft.
We denounce all instruments of economic apparatus such as NAFTA,
GATT, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) which continue to
exploit people and natural resources to profit powerful corporations,
assisted by governments and military forces of developed countries.
We demand that scientific endeavors and resources be prioritized
to support and improve social, economic, and environmental conditions
of Indigenous peoples in the environments, thereby improving health
conditions and raising the overall quality of life.
We reaffirm that Indigenous peoples have the fundamental rights to
deny access to, refuse to participate in, or to allow removal or
appropriation by external scientific projects of any genetic
We demand the Human Genome Diversity Project and any other such
scientific projects cease any attempts to seduce or coerce
participation in their project through promises of benefits and
financial gain in order to obtain consent and participation of
We demand an immediate moratorium on collections and/or patenting
of genetic materials from Indigenous persons and communities by any
scientific project, health organization, governments, independent
agencies, or individual researchers.
We demand that nation-state governments and their departments do
not participate, fund, or provide any assistance to the Human Genome
Diversity Project or any related programs or seek to hold patents or
otherwise benefit from the genetic materials taken from indigenous
We call on religious communities, human rights, social justice and
environmental organizations, funding agencies, all individuals, and
institutions refuse to participate, fund, or provide other assistance
to the Human Genome Diversity Project and any related programs.
We extend our support and solidarity to all those who are
resisting these efforts, or are seeking the repatriation of genetic
materials already taken or removed from their control.
We urge the international community and the United Nations to
participate with Indigenous peoples in developing international
policies and conventions which protect all life forms from genetic
manipulation and destruction.
We call on our brothers and sisters of the Indigenous nations
around the world and concerned peoples in the international community
to stand up and unite in our efforts to protect the natural diversity
and integrity of all life.
The support of all humans in this Declaration would protect the
sacredness of all life, the natural order, and would provide a
healthy future for generations to come.
As declared by the undersigned participating organizations in
Phoenix, Arizona on February 19, 1995:
- Amazanga Institute, Provincia de Pastaza, Ecuador
- Asocicion Kunas Unidos Pro Napguana, Panama
- Coordinadora de Mujeres Indigenas de Bolivia, La Pas, Bolivia
- CONIC Consortium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Council of Athabaskan Tribal Governments, Stevens Village,
- En'owkin Center. Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
- Independent Traditional Seminole Nation of Florida, Immokalle,
- Indigenous Environmental Network, National Office, Bemidji,
- Indigenous Environmental Network, Oklahoma Region, Tulsa,
- Indigenous People's Alliance, Phoenix, Arizona
- Indigenous Peoples Support Network, London, Ontario, Canada
- Indigenous WomenÕs Network, Lake Elmo, Minnesota; Ponsford,
Minnesota; Boulder, Colorado
- Inter-Ethnic Association of the Peruvian Rain Forest
- International Indian Treaty Council, San Francisco, California
- South and Meso American Information Center (SAIIC). Oakland,
- Sovereignty People's Information Network, British Columbia,
- Tonantzin Land Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Tonatierra, Phoenix, Arizona
For more information:
PO Box 72
Nixon, NV 89424
257 Brunswick Street
Penticton BC V2A 5P9
PO Box 28703
1212 Broadway, Suite 830
Oakland, CA 94604