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Abortion is a pees etwom best left i the ha nds o a woman and her God. [email protected] YES! I want to support an organization that believes as I do; that decisions about reproduction are sacred and are between God and me. Please send additional information Count me in as a member I want to join your action team, I have included my e-mail or fax below. I am enclosing a tax-deductible gift of $ Your Name Address City St Zip Phone Fax E-mail address Please make check payable to RCRC -TX. Clip this reply form and send it along with your tax-deductible donation to: Religious Coalition -Texas P.O. Box 3934, Austin, TX 78764-3934 Pro-Faith ce “0,4 , pith]. th i t Milagros, Retablos and Arte Popular FOLK ART & OTHER TREASURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 209 CONGRESS AVENUE 512 / 479-8377 OPEN DAILY 10-6, FREE PARKING BEHIND THE STORE Who Owns, continued from page 17 that job belongs to the state. And the state, at least for the present, operates according to law. Who Owns Native Culture? is strangely deaf to history. Women and African Americans didn’t gain rights to vote by “imperfect negotiated compromise” on a case-by-case basis but by establishing laws. “Culture is simply too performative, too elusive and at the same time easily replicated, to lend itself to systematic regulation,” Brown writes. But isn’t “systematic regulation” just what we want firmly in place on such \(\(cultural” matters as abortion and discrimination? As I read it, Brown’s book makes a case for rather than against turning to law on these questions. Cultural regulations, though they be few at present, are what have forced museums to hand over Native American artifacts and compensated aboriginal artists when their paintings appear on t-shirts at..the Melbourne airport. Kathleen Johnnie of the Snuneymuxw nation, asserting her tribe’s rights to its ancient petroglyphs, puts it plainly. “If the federal government or the global community would provide a different kind of protection for Aboriginal cultures, we’d use that…. If the global community would come together as effectively to protect our intellectual property rights as they’ve come together to protect Coca-Cola or Microsoft, we wouldn’t use the trademark. We’d use something else.” Brown notes in his final chapter that even the self-proclaimed “Capitalist Tool” Forbes magazine has criticized the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “establishing an innovative stranglehold.” Could it be that, at last, these laws have begun working in favor of someone other than corporate capitalists? With its abundance of examples and careful notes, Brown’s book is a godsend to anyone wading into the debate over cultural ownership. Also, he puts forth a strong case against sweeping and totalizing protections of “heritage,” arguing that such proposals threaten to freeze living cultures in time and “quarantine” them from the multicultural states, nations, and world to which tribal members, like the rest of us, belong. But Brown skims over Samuel Warren’s and Louis Brandeis’s insight of a century ago: that civilization has evolved to the point where law must protect “man’s [sic] spiritual nature.” “The term ‘property’ has grown to comprise every form of possessionintangible, as well as tangible,” they wrote. “Thoughts, emotions, and sensations demand… legal recognition.” Much as we might prefer to settle cultural differences with sweetgrass and apologies, none of us truly wants to rely on the efficacy of those measures. In most cases, without “the shadow of the law” to suggest them, these concessions aren’t even offered. John Stroh III made his peace offering to Seth Big Crow only after SBC Holding got out of the beer business. And the Lakota hero’s heirs continue their legal case against Hornell Brewing Company to this day. Julie Ardery is a sociologist and poet based in Austin. paid advertisement 1/16/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21