Indigenous Chocolate (Origin)
Indigenous chocolate is a type of chocolate made by the Indigenous Peoples of South America, where Theobroma cacao originates within its endemic (indigenous) biodiversity growing region. Most fine chocolate makers will quickly admit that Indigenous chocolate is different than German, Swiss, French or Italian chocolates. Moreover Indigenous chocolate does not necessarily have the same ingredients as other chocolates using wild Theobroma species.
Chocolate Made by Indigenous Peoples using Indigenous Cacao Seeds
In their first encounter with the Piaroa tribe in 1671 Catholic Missionaries noted that they had many wild cacao trees growing along the Orinoco River. While we do not know how long the Piaroa tribe had contact with chocolate or cacao, their folklore and legend say that the Tapir (their sacred animal) brought it to them from the mountains, it is here we find wild specimens of the tree as well, deep in their forests.
If history has any validity to the facts, in 1631 a book was published called Inda Chocolata (Indigenous Chocolate) where Indigenous chocolate was first described. It is our opinion that the Indigenous Peoples had discovered, invented, created, and were commercializing their chocolate and cacao beginning at least by the time the Spanish arrived in South America in 1522 prior to the introduction of the first laws under the Holy Roman Emperor.
Botanical and Biodiversity Source (Origin of Cacao)
In 2021, Col. David Wright discovered that the only possible botanical source for Theobroma cacao was the Guiana Shield based on evolutionary science and evidence by other researches proving that Theobroma cacao came into existence as a species over 10 million years ago, which dispels the theory that it originated from a biodiversity hotspot on the Equator, there is no way it would make it to the mountains of French Guiana or Suriname. This is primarily because the Andes has not yet formed or Theobroma cacao made it there by other means, perhaps after being discovered by the Piaroa?
Theobromatology (Theobroma Labs) Indigenous Tributes
As an nonprofit organization that is working with philanthropy, the environment, human rights and Indigenous peoples we need to understand the world from their perspective regardless of the circumstances. The pursuit of justice to protect their cultural and intellectual property is a moral imperative above all others because it reflects their identity and is quite frankly all they have. Over 95% of the Piaroa people live well below the poverty line.
In all reality the Indigenous Peoples own the Theobroma cacao genome and the common law rights to the trademark Chocolate because they invented it and discovered it, however in reality it does not mean much because the Europeans unlawfully and illegally exploited it, bio-colonized it and traded the once Indigenous commodity until it ended up in the public domain of France and the United States, neither of which are a source or an origin of either Theobroma cacao or Chocolate with any authority in law. Origin and source are the two most important things in Intellectual Property Law, there are no chocolate makers in the world right now that are operating with legal cacao or chocolate because they do not have Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) nor do they have an Access and Benefit Sharing Agreement (ABSA). It has taken 500 years, but bio-colonization did take place, it was unlawful and it needs to be addressed with tributes in accord to the survivors in order to receive FPIC or comply with the Nagoya Protocol.