The idea of cultural appropriation is a hot topic of debate. From the United Nations to the runaways in New York- everyone is asking the same question. Can a company or person own the exclusive rights to a cultural symbol?

In 2013 Disney submitted an application to trademark the phrase, “Dia De Los Muertes.”  The Day of the Dead is a Mexican Cultural Holiday that is a time to remember friends and family who have passed away.  Disney faced a lot of public backlash and withdrew their application, but the question still remains. If the application had been approved ANY company or business that wanted to use the name of the holiday would need permission from Disney.

Conversely, there is currently a lawsuit from a group of 1,000 Mayan woman against the government of Guatemala.  The woman maintain that they should hold the rights to Mayan cultural weavings and patterns and that they should be protected from the government using them within the tourism industry. Can they own exclusive rights to the patterns?  How do you decide?

Use these ideas from our blog for how to use this infographic and question in your classroom.

Or check out this full-length Public Policy Debate lesson on our Teachers Pay Teachers store to engage your students in this global debate.  

To learn how your school or organization can adopt thinkLaw’s standards-aligned program that helps educators teach critical thinking to all students, please click here to schedule a time to speak with someone on the thinkLaw team, call us now at (702) 318-7512 or join us on our next webinar; Thinking Like a Lawyer: Powerful Strategies to Teach Critical Thinking to All Students

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