The Theft of Traditional Knowledge

In the Hood Health Handbook, we talk about how all the “herbal remedies” our ancestors developed are now being appropriated by the Western world for profit:

For thousands of years Indian villagers have used an extract from the Neem tree as an insecticide. So when a US company patented a process for producing the substance in 1994, India reacted with outrage. After spending millions of dollars in legal fees to successfully overturn the patent, India’s government is now creating a 30-million-page database of traditional knowledge to protect against “entrepreneurs” trying to patent the country’s ancient wisdom. The database, called the Traditional Knowledge Data Library, will help ensure that traditional remedies are not presented as new discoveries.

The same thing was done to Native American people, indigenous Australians, Pacific Islanders, South African Bushmen, and pretty much any other group who has lost their treasured traditional knowledge to Western corporations. Just look around and see who’s got the market locked when it comes to Goji berries, Chia seeds, Moringa powder, Acai berries, and anything else that Original people had first.