Empty Lands and Raw Seeds: From the Doctrines of Discovery to Patents on Life

Cadgrages Journal, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, August 2007.


This essay brings to light a relationship between the colonial doctrine of discovery and patents on life today. By tracing the doctrine of discovery, the assignment of terra nullius, and  the development of the discourse of improvement, this essay aims to show the ways in which indigenous people’s relationship to nature has been defined and circumscribed by terms of “vacant lands” and “raw seeds” in attempt to justify the denial of pre-existing Aboriginal ownership of land and knowledge in North America and around the world.

Link: http://www.omics-ethics.org/observatoire/cadrages/cadr2007/c_no33_07/ca_no33_07_01.html