Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Gregory C. Lisby - Chair

Second Advisor

Kathryn Fuller-seeley

Third Advisor

Svetlana V. Kulikova


Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) has posed an unprecedented threat to the existence of an Indigenous Knowledge system. There is an increasing amount of appropriation of indigenous knowledge, whereby corporations from rich countries are claiming proprietary rights over knowledge that has belonged to cultures and people of indigenous communities for hundreds of years. IPRs have been inappropriately utilized hindering development and perpetuating poverty within indigenous knowledge−holding communities. This thesis attempts to frame the current debate at the intersection of IPRs and indigenous knowledge, bringing in the case studies on the appropriation of traditional Yoga of Hindu and the Zia sun of Zia−Pueblo of New Mexico. By bringing two case studies on appropriation, this project employs legal−critical scholarship to analyze how the current IPR regime supports commodifying traditional knowledge and artifacts such as Yoga and the Zia sun, and recommends for customary law as a viable alternative to the IPRs.