Genetic Analysis on Native Identity and Tribal Memberships: the Political & Ethical Implications for Native People

Abstract:
Advances in biotechnology have ignited an enormous amount of attention to the multiplicity of issues that effect mankind. A specific issue for some tribes is the use of genetic analysis and screening techniques to establish tribal membership criteria and, in some extreme cases, attempt to establish Native identity altogether. At least two gaming tribes, to date, have instituted their sovereign prerogative to implement genetic analysis criteria as an effort to control and determine their tribal memberships. Conversely, some non-recognized tribes are attempting to use genetic technologies to establish their Native ancestry. It is the belief of the latter group, that culture may be derived from your genetic make-up. This thesis will observe a new and rapidly growing phenomenon of biocolonialism in Indian Country. Specifically, this thesis will show how colonialism, science, and legal policies have impacted decisions for some tribes who have come to rely on genetic technology.

Author: 

Jacquetta Swift

Chair: 

Eileen Luna Firebaugh

Publication: 

thesis

Year: 

2001

Arizona State Museum: 

M9791 598
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences