Speaker Biography
"Indigenous cultural property of all forms, tangible and intangible, oral and written, ancient and contemporary, is under constant threat from exploitation, theft, misrepresentation, misuse, and commodification." - Debra Harry, writing in Seattle Journal for Social Justice


Debra Harry, M.S., is Northern Paiute, from Pyramid Lake, Nevada. Harry is the Executive Director of The Indigenous People's Council on Biocolonialism and the Producer of the 2003 documentary film The Leech and the Earthworm, an IPCB/Yeast Directions production that examines the globalized hunt for genes within Indigenous territories and bodies and features Indigenous activists from around the world. In 1994, Harry received a three-year Kellogg Foundation leadership fellowship and studied the field of human genetic research and its implications for Indigenous peoples. She was a recent fellow in the "Leading From the Inside Out" Rockwood Leadership Fellowship Program. She has recently authored a chapter entitled, "Acts of Self-Determination and Self-Defense: Indigenous Peoples Responses to Biocolonialism," as a contribution to a new book entitled Rights and Liberties in the Biotech Age, (edited by Sheldon Krimsky and Peter Shorett, Roman and Littlefield, 2005), which is an original volume of essays by leading scientists, policy experts and public interest advocates on the impact of genetic technologies on individual and collective rights. In 1997, she earned a master's degree in community economic development from New Hampshire College, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Auckland, School of Education.

Selected Publications:

Debra Harry and Le`a Malia Kanehe, "Asserting Tribal Sovereignty over Cultural Property: Towards Protection of Genetic Material and Indigenous Knowledge" 5 Seattle J. for Soc. Just. 27-55 (2007).

Debra Harry and Le`a Malia Kanehe, "The Right of Indigenous Peoples to Permanent Sovereignty Over the Genetic Resources and Associated Indigenous Knowledge," 6 J. Indigenous Policy (2006).

Debra Harry, "Acts of Self-Determination and Self-Defense: Indigenous Peoples' Responses to Biocolonialism," in Rights and Liberties in the Biotech Age, (Sheldon Krimsky, ed.) (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005).

Debra Harry and Le`a Malia Kanehe, "Protecting Indigenous Knowledge in a Globalized World," presented at the World Indigenous Peoplesí Conference on Education, Hamilton, New Zealand (2005).

Debra Harry, "High-Tech Invasion: Biocolonialism," in Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples' Resistance to Economic Globalization, (Jerry Mander and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, eds.) (International Forum on Globalization, 2005).

Debra Harry and Le`a Malia Kanehe, "The BS in Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS): Critical Questions for Indigenous Peoples" in The Catch: Perspectives in Benefit Sharing, (Beth Burrows, ed.) (The Edmonds Institute, 2005).

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