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Indigenous Rock Star Wins Lawsuit Against Aveda

Robby Romero, an Apache rock musician and indigenous rights activist whose band, Red Thunder, is a mainstay on MTV, has won a lawsuit against the cosmetics company Aveda.

In the suit, Romero claimed that Aveda failed to compensate him for its “Indigenous” product line, which Romero developed as a means to raise funds to support grassroots Native American organizations.

The products were made with indigenous, organic, wild materials and essential oils of jojoba, sage, sweetgrass, and rose. Romero secured endorsements from Native American spiritual leaders who attested to their integrity.

Romero told the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May: “Unfortunately, there are corporations . . . that have been enriched from the use of indigenous peoples’ natural resources, culture, philosophy, creativity, resources, intellectual property, traditional knowledge, images, names, and likeness. And often, those corporations manage to circumvent indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior, and informed consent and to benefit sharing.”

In February, a jury returned a verdict against Aveda on Romero’s behalf. A second lawsuit alleging that Aveda failed to distribute charitable donations resulting from the product line to indigenous grassroots organizations is pending.

After Romero filed the lawsuit, Aveda continued to market the products, but changed the trademark to Inspiritu.

Since 1972 Cultural Survival has been advocating for Indigenous Peoples' rights and supporting Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience.

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Together, We Can Support Indigenous Communities in Nepal

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Cultural Survival is not a disaster relief organization. We work towards a world in which the rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

Bikalpa Gyan Kedra, an organization in Nepal founded by our Board Member Stella Tamang offers alternative educational opportunities to Indigenous girls and is not a disaster relief organization either, but since the earthquake they have been acting as a shelter to 300 local families. They need basic items like drinking water and food.

Radio Kairan in Kubu-Kasthali is asking for help with purchasing a power generator to get his community radio station back up and running to provide an essential means of communication for villagers on relief efforts as well as to power his community. Cost for this generator would be about $2,500

We have set up a special fund to assist our Indigenous contacts in Nepal. With your help, we can provide some limited assistance to our friends in desperate need.

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