Havasupai Tribe

Troubled by the increase in the number of diabetes cases among their members, the Havasupai Tribe, in 1989, agreed to let researchers from Arizona State University draw and test their blood to try to find a reason for the elevated rate of the disease.  When a paper on the research was published in 1991 stating there was no genetic reason for the high levels of diabetes, the tribe thought that was that.

However, Arizona State University continued using the samples for more research, according to an article in Native Peoples.  “Unbeknownst to the tribe,” writes Patty Talahongva, “additional research using the samples went on for more than a decade.”  “[I]nstead of using that blood solely for diabetes research [ASU staff members] conducted further research, on schizophrenia, inbreeding and even migration patterns.”

Havasupai tribal member Carletta Tilousi, when she learned about the further research, “was outraged to learn that blood drawn for a diabetes study,” Talahongva writes, “was instead being used to dispel her people’s beliefs and cultural teachings, which say that the Havasupai originated in the Grand Canyon.”  (A doctoral student’s dissertation claimed that the tribe had migrated across the Bering Strait.)

A lawsuit was brought against ASU “charging them with genetic piracy” and eventually a settlement was reached, including a $700,000 payment and a return of the blood samples to the tribe, as well as “new collaborations with the tribe, such as building a high school, a new health clinic and providing scholarships to Havasupai tribal members to each of the state’s three universities.” 

Talahongva brings up questions, though, as to whether or not justice will be served:

8/24/2010 8:02:05 PM

@Joe You evidently don't even understand what Utne Reader is all about. Of course, if I don't like a site, I don't visit it again. Is that too hard for you?

Judy Johnson
8/24/2010 11:33:47 AM

Joe - I'm confused. What does your comment have to do with the article here? If you are lumping it in under "soft news, nothing dirty, and stories about crap people are NOT concerned with"...well, that just doesn't make sense to me either.

8/23/2010 1:19:41 AM

This site is not an alternative media site. It is a mainstream media site calling itself alternative. Nothing about the IMF, Federal Reserve, SEC... and puppetting of the "Ground Zero Mosque" without noting that the funding for the mosque came from very wealthy donors with a vested interest in pissing people off toward Muslims. I can't decide whether it is intentional, but this isn't journalism. It could just be a haven for well meaning apologists... although the outcome is the same... soft news, nothing dirty, and stories about crap people are NOT concerned with.

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