Any research on traditional uses of plants and traditional food systems should follow the ISE Code of Ethics that is founded on mindfulness and respect. The continued documentation of the origin of collected plants, the agreements of use and the intellectual property rights associated with those plants is paramount.
Check out this chapter which is in a book devoted to methods of protecting Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights:
Letitia M. McCune and Alain Cuerrier. 2020. Chapter 9: Traditional Plant Medicines and the Protection of Traditional Harvesting Sites. In: Plants, People, and Places: The Roles of Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights in Canada and Beyond. Nancy J. Turner (Ed.). McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, Canada. pp. 151-168.
Protecting Traditional Food Systems
Here are some examples of methods and traditional food systems that includes sovereignty issues:
Letitia M. McCune, Valerie Nuvayestewa and Harriet V. Kuhnlein. 2019. Why and How to Document the Traditional Food System in your Community: A Report from Breakout Discussions at the 2017 Native American Nutrition Conference. Current Developments in Nutrition. 3(S2):19-24.
free access: https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzy089.
Letitia M. McCune and Harriet V. Kuhnlein. 2011. Chapter 15: Assessment of Indigenous peoples’ traditional food and nutrition systems. In: Ethnobiology. E.N. Andersen, D. Pearsall, E. Hunn and N. Turner (Eds.). Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J. pp.249-266.
Ethnobotanical researchers often identify plants, and therefore seeds, with uses unique to a culture or that have been developed over generations to fit a particular environment and use. International treaties have recognized the rights of Indigenous Peoples to their seeds and to agreements upon collection. Many countries also require deposits in government herbaria. Whether one agrees with patenting or not, commercial enterprises could acquire these seeds in the name of research or biodiversity and subsequently create patentable products or plants. As material is transferred from seedbanks or herbaria are the agreements on use considered?
Continued documentation of the origin and agreements of use of any collected seeds/plants on collection sheets, herbarium specimens, material transfer agreements, seed bank holdings and research articles are paramount to the IPR of Indigenous Peoples to their plants and seed sovereignty.
Please check out this free access publication on these matters (important if a researcher or not):
Past Sovereignty and Rights Presentations
Letitia M. McCune and Twila R. Cassadore. 2019. Methods for the Reintroduction of Traditional Foods. The 42nd Society of Ethnobiology Annual Meeting. Vancouver, B.C. Oral paper presentation.
Twila Cassadore, Seth Pilsk and Letitia M. McCune. 2018. Lessons from the Traditional Western Apache Diet Program.Third Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition. Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Prior Lake, Minnesota. Breakout session and poster co-presenter.
Letitia M. McCune. 2018. The Methods and Manners of Food Sovereignty. Joint Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology & Society for Economic Botany. UW-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.Oral paper presenter and session chair.
Harriet V. Kuhnlein (with co-presenters Valerie Nuvayestewa and Letitia M. McCune). 2017. Why and How to Document the Traditional Food System in Your Community. Second Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition. Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Prior Lake, Minnesota. Breakout workshop co-presenter.
Letitia M. McCune and Alain Cuerrier. 2017. Traditional Medicines from Culture Specific Gathering Sites Improve Indigenous Peoples’ Health. Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights and the Roles of Ethnoecology and Ethnobotany Symposium. University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. Invited speaker.
Letitia M. McCune. 2017. Academic Societies, Ethnobiology and Ethics Codes. 40th Annual Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology. Oral paper presentation.
Letitia M. McCune. 2017. IPR and Traditional Plant Resources. Tohono O'odham Community College. Invited oral presentation for Earth Week.
Letitia M. McCune. 2016. Traditional Seed Resources: Sovereignty and Ethics. 2016 FRTEP (Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program) Professional Development Meeting. Invited oral paper presentation.
Letitia M. McCune. 2016. Protecting Seed Sovereignty: What is the Role of the Ethnobotanist? 39th Annual Meeting of the Society of Ethnobiology. Oral paper presentation.
Letitia M. McCune. 2016. Methods of IPR Protection: Examples of Agreements and Permitting Requirements. 57th Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany. Oral paper presentation.
Letitia M. McCune. 2015. Seed Sovereignty, Conservation and Patenting: The Protection of Intellectual Property Rights. 38th Annual Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology. Oral paper presentation.
Letitia M. McCune. 2013. SEB Code of Ethics Workshop. 54th Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany. Ethics Chair, workshop panel organizer and moderator.
Letitia M. McCune. 2013. Proposed SEB Code of Ethics and Introduction to ISE’s. 54th Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany. Oral paper presentation.
Letitia M. McCune. 2012. Seed Conservation Policies to Increase Agricultural Biodiversity, IPR and Benefits Sharing. Oral paper presentation to Native Seeds/SEARCH staff and board members with suggestions for follow up.
Letitia M. McCune. 2012. Seed Conservation Policies to Increase Agricultural Biodiversity, IPR and Benefits Sharing. 53rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany.Oral paper presentation.
Letitia M. McCune. 2010. Agricultural Biodiversity, IPR and Benefits Sharing: The Native Seeds/SEARCH Example. 33rd Annual Meeting of the Society of Ethnobiology. Oral paper presentation.