WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ritual practitioners from a village in a small Pacific archi-
pelago make an intellectual property claim to the origins of bungee jumping? Or when
ancestral names are given to plastic children’s toys?1 Globally, the polarizing rhetoric and
contestation over indigenous rights that emerges in these cases, and in many others, can
be extremely divisive. Locally, positive connections among cultural heritage, intellectual
property, and indigeneity in the Pacific region are only gaining strength.2 Indigenous activ-
ists, curators, legislators, lawyers, and scholars are creatively exploring the possibility of
genuine alternatives to the global policies and concepts that circumscribe their lives. In this
volume, I look at the ways in which intellectual and cultural property provide a framework
for claiming economic sovereignty and for forging new national utopias around exchange
and entitlement in the Pacific island nations of Vanuatu and Aotearoa New Zealand.3 The
“indigenization” of cultural and intellectual property I discuss here uses these institutional
forms as a way to reframe who owns the so-called cultural commons. There has been a
reformulation of the colonial commodity inheritance, one both poignant and innovative.
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