”I think people need to understand the culture of the others and respect it. You should not use it to your own benefit, leaving the community – or the owner of the culture – without anything. If you just take what belongs to somebody, and go and display it and have your fortune, then it is very wrong.”
– Isaac ole Tialolo, a Maasai elder leader and chair of the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative. In conversation with the BBC, he expressed his discontent with organizations that currently sell his culture as a brand.
It is estimated that over 10,000 companies all over the world may be using the Maasai name in their products.
The top 6 of these each have gained over $100,000 in sales over the last ten years, using the Maasai name or aspects of their culture.
“Not a cent of these profits went to the originators of the culture themselves.”
Source: ‘Commoditizing a Culture: The Negative Effects of Branding on Minority Groups’. Business Today, 06.Jul.2014