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Tell me a story: Genomics vs. Indigenous Origin Narratives

By Kim TallBear

tallbear_native coverOn April 13, 2005 the Indigenous Peoples' Council on Biocolonialism issued a press release[1] opposing the Genographic Project, which aimed to sample 100,000 indigenous and other traditional peoples to "trace the migratory history of the human species" and "map how the Earth was populated."[2] IPCB critiques Genographic, and the Human Genome Diversity Project before it, as the contemporary continuation of colonial, extractive research. The analysis is also a fundamental historical examination of Western science. IPCB foregrounds the intellectual and institutional authority that science, a powerful tool of colonizing states, has to appropriate indigenous bodies - both dead and living - material cultural artifacts, and indigenous cultural narratives in the service of academic knowledge production.

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