Abstract: In a rapidly globalizing world, indigenous knowledge is in mortal danger, and it will require new forms of intellectual property protection to save it. There are fundamental incongruities between Western intellectual property law and indigenous knowledge that prevent the current international intellectual property framework from fully comprehending or addressing the contexts and needs of indigenous knowledge. This article will review the history of international and regional initiatives to develop protection for indigenous knowledge. It will consider the geopolitical context that has informed discussions about protecting the intangible wealth of indigenous peoples, including the recent addition of articulate and impassioned indigenous voices to the conversation. Finally, this article will discuss some of the concerns that have been raised about subjecting indigenous knowledge to a system of formal legal regulation.