Feedback About Our Advertisers

Nov 15th, 1996 | By | Category: 8-3: Ceremony
By Marjane Ambler, editor

In the “Letters” page of this issue, you will find a letter criticizing the advertisement we carried last issue for the U.S. Secret Service. After this issue, we anticipate letters objecting to an advertisement regarding human genome research. To clarify our policy: When an advertisement appears in Tribal College Journal, it does not imply our endorsement. Readers make their own decisions about whether they want to attend certain colleges, join the Secret Service, or participate in a course about human genome research.

Nevertheless, we were concerned about the subject of human genome research, especially after preparing the Fall 1996 issue on cultural property rights. The U.S. National Institutes of Health had raised international indignation by getting a patent on the human cell line of a Hagahai indigenous person from Papua New Guinea. In October, however, NIH filed paperwork to disclaim the patent, forfeiting all of the U.S. government’s claims on the patent. This was the third patent that NIH had withdrawn.

NIH argues that the human genome project helps the agency fulfill its responsibility to develop new products for the public health. Critics argue that the patents represent “commodification of life.” (The Summer 1996 issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly is devoted to this controversy, including a statement by two Hagahai people about the research.)

The advertisement in this Journal does not solicit volunteers to donate blood or tissue samples. It is an attempt by NIH to reach out to faculty who teach Native students. We polled some of our advisory board members about the ad, one of whom said, “We can’t operate our schools in a vacuum. We must be ready to understand the issues and challenges the entire world faces.” We hope that by printing the ad, we will also facilitate the involvement of Native scientists in helping shape NIH’s work.

Welcome to the new subscribers and advertisers who learned about the Tribal College Journal through our web site on the World Wide Web. For readers who have not seen it, you can find our home page at the following address: <http://www.fdl.cc.mn.us/tcj>

It includes our cover and table of contents from a sample issue and a list of titles from the past eight years of Journal publications. The latest addition is a directory of colleges with links to their web sites. Our thanks to Cynthia Antelope, who designed our page, and to Marketing Manager Felicity Kurth, who is maintaining it now. A big thanks to Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College for hosting our page and to Ted Wetherbee for his technical assistance with it. We would appreciate any suggestions from you about other web sites that our readers might want to see.

We also want to welcome new readers from Rumsey Rancheria in California. The rancheria took advantage of our group rate for subscriptions and ordered 18, the largest group to date.

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