A Conversation with Michael F. Brown and Bia Labate


Wednesday, October 13th 12-1:30pm PST

This community forum considers the problem of cultural appropriation and control of Indigenous knowledge particularly as it applies to food and medicinal plants. Of particular concern is the challenge of reconciling Indigenous and Western industrial ways of developing and protecting knowledge. Scholars and activists have been talking about the problem of “biopiracy” for decades, but little progress has been made in managing it. Why is this so? Is it possible that the way we’re thinking about the problem prevents pragmatic solutions?

Michael F. Brown is president of the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.  Prior to joining SAR, Brown served on the faculty of Williams College for 34 years.  His books include Who Owns Native Culture? (Harvard University Press, 2004) and Upriver: The Turbulent Life and Times of an Amazonian People (Harvard University Press, 2014), among others.

Dr. Beatriz Caiuby Labate

Bia Labate is a queer Brazilian anthropologist based in San Francisco. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, religion, and social justice. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines (https://chacruna.nethttps://chacruna-iri.orghttps://chacruna-la.org). She serves as Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She is also Diversity, Culture, and Ethics Advisor at the Synthesis Institute. Additionally, she is a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil and editor of its site. She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-four books, two special-edition journals, and several peer-reviewed articles (https://bialabate.net).

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