CIRCA:Lenora Ledwon.“Native American life stories and 'authorship': Legal and ethical issues.”


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Lenora Ledwon. “Native American life stories and 'authorship': Legal and ethical issues” 1997.

This paper discusses ethical and legal issues concerning the collaboration on native texts carried out through non-native collaborators by means of editing, transcribing, translating or co-authoring. With the intention to return copyright to the lawful possessor, Native Americans as the story teller, the author has first presented some legal options such as having a written letter of agreement between non-native collaborator and native story teller, then showing the moral stake at work for both parties: the ethnological aim to look into other’s face of the collaborator’s part and the sharing of cultural heritage that has to do with intellectual property and authorship for the Native American part. In any situation, the authorship should go to the Native American subject. A further deconstruction of the notion of “Authorship” as property right to that of human right specific to Native Americans proposed by the author based on the assertion that “telling a story (as voiced in many Native American texts) is to help preserve a cultural heritage” (9) concludes the paper as a reflection on “Otherness” raised by Emmanuel Levinas to avoid a colonizing relationship between the collaborator and subjected Native Americans.

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