Archive for March, 2011

Amy Harmon, from the New York Times, reports on the settlement reached between the Havasupai community (Arizona, United States) and the University of Arizona.

“SUPAI, Ariz. — Seven years ago, the Havasupai Indians, who live amid the turquoise waterfalls and red cliffs miles deep in the Grand Canyon, issued a “banishment order” to keep Arizona State University employees from setting foot on their reservation — an ancient punishment for what they regarded as a genetic-era betrayal. […]”

View full article:

Please also watch the video: “Blood Journey: An Indian Tribe at the Center of a Bioethical Debate”

The SING Workshop is now accepting applications from Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, or Canadian First Nation   applicants (all expenses paid for those who are accepted).

According to the website, the goals of the program are as follows:

Facilitate discussion on indigenous cultural values and whether scientific methods can be beneficially incorporated with these values,

Provide awareness of how genomics is currently used as a tool to assist in projects focused on natural resources, history and biomedicine and

To increase the number of Native Americans in science research, leadership and teaching careers at all levels.

This promises to be an interesting and hand-on program in genomics education with involvement from critical scholars in both the genome and social sciences who understand the difficult histories surrounding Native American encounters with genomics, yet the need for Native American communities to tackle this area of science in ways that are in line with their biomedical, research, and governance interests.

See for complete instructions as well as information on the curriculum, advisory board members [Kim TallBear is one of them], and sponsors.


On March 11 The American Journal of Human Genetics published Roderick R. McInnes’s 2010 Presidential Address  at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics: “Culture: the silent language geneticists must learn—genetic research with Indigenous populations”.  McInnes presented a thoughtful piece highlighting the concerns of indigenous people around the world regarding genetic research (illustrated by positive and negative research experiences) and the urgency of doing culturally competent research “[…] research that respects the indigenous community’s beliefs, their desire for self-determination, their desire to benefit from the research, and their wish to retain intellectual property rights and ownership of samples of DNA, tissues, and body fluids. […]”

McINNES, Roderick R.
(2011). “Culture: the silent language geneticists must learn—genetic research with indigenous populations”. American Journal of Human Genetics 88(3): 254-261. The article can be accessed through the AJHG webpage (through a subscription).

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