Tag Archive: indigenous people

Dr. Deborah Bolnick (Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin) is organizing a panel for the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) on the current state of ethic, legal and social implications of genetic research among indigenous people around the world. More information about the participants, topics, and venue will be posted soon. For more information please visit the AAPA webpage.

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).

[From the UN Website]

“The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday September 13, by a majority of 144 states in favour, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine). Click here to view the voting record.

Since its adoption, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States have all reversed their positions and now endorse the Declaration. Colombia and Samoa have also reversed their positions and indicated their support for the Declaration.

During the Durban Review Conference in April 2009, 182 States from all regions of the world reached consensus on an outcome document in which they “ Welcome[d] the adoption of the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples which has a positive impact on the protection of victims and, in this context, urge[d] States to take all necessary measures to implement the rights of indigenous peoples in accordance with international human rights instruments without discrimination…” (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Outcome document of the Durban Review Conference , 24 April 2009, para. 73).”

Download below to read the full declaration:

UNITED NATIONS (2008). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Washington D.C, UN.


Genomics, Governance, and Indigenous Peoples (November 6-7, 2008) gathered together 12 scholar practitioners to discuss the promise and perils of current efforts to transform indigenous peoples’ governance of genomic research. Invited participants included experts in human genetics and the social, legal, and ethical aspects of genomics in different national and cultural contexts. Individual participants have experience working within existing regimes of governance, and they see a need for policy innovation and change in relation to genomic research. Some participants are already engaged in experimental efforts to create change. Participants engaged in several facilitated dialogues organized around several themes including property, sovereignty, and the “politics of representation” (who represents whom and who decides?) First conceived as a workshop focused on the United States and “tribal” governance of genomics, the workshop has broadened to include scholar practitioners working in other parts of the world in recognition that strategies for governing genomic research cannot be contained by national borders. Workshop outcomes will be relevant for indigenous governance within multiple national contexts. They include an edited, multi-authored volume, and a policy paper focusing on the core themes of the workshop: property and various forms of sovereignty as those are informed by both domestic and international structures of law and policy. The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).



Back (left to right): Philip (Sam) Deloria, Brett Lee Shelton, Nanibaa’ Garrison, Terry Powell, Paul Oldham, and Kim TallBear. Front (left to right): Nadja Kanellopoulou, Jenny Reardon, Pilar N. Ossorio, Rebecca Tsosie, Brian Wynne, and Laura Arbour.


College of Law
Arizona State University (ASU)
Tempe, AZ

Kim TallBear (University of California, Berkeley, UCB)
Jenny Reardon (University of California, Santa Cruz, UCSC)
Rebecca Tsosie (Arizona State University, ASU)

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