The Illusion of Inclusion — The “All of Us” Research Program and Indigenous Peoples’ DNA

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2020-09-13 02:16Z by Steven

The Illusion of Inclusion — The “All of Us” Research Program and Indigenous Peoples’ DNA

The New England Journal of Medicine
Issue 383 (2020-07-30)
pages 411-413
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1915987

Keolu Fox, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego

Raw data, including digital sequence information derived from human genomes, have in recent years emerged as a top global commodity. This shift is so new that experts are still evaluating what such information is worth in a global market. In 2018, the direct-to-consumer genetic-testing company 23andMe sold access to its database containing digital sequence information from approximately 5 million people to GlaxoSmithKline for $300 million. Earlier this year, 23andMe partnered with Almirall, a Spanish drug company that is using the information to develop a new antiinflammatory drug for autoimmune disorders. This move marks the first time that 23andMe has signed a deal to license a drug for development.

Eighty-eight percent of people included in large-scale studies of human genetic variation are of European ancestry, as are the majority of participants in clinical trials.1 Corporations such as Geisinger Health System, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, AncestryDNA, and 23andMe have already mined genomic databases for the strongest genotype–phenotype associations. For the field to advance, a new approach is needed. There are many potential ways to improve existing databases, including “deep phenotyping,” which involves collecting precise measurements from blood panels, questionnaires, cognitive surveys, and other tests administered to research participants. But this approach is costly and physiologically and mentally burdensome for participants. Another approach is to expand existing biobanks by adding genetic information from populations whose genomes have not yet been sequenced — information that may offer opportunities for discovering globally rare but locally common population-specific variants, which could be useful for identifying new potential drug targets.

Many Indigenous populations have been geographically isolated for tens of thousands of years. Over time, these populations have developed adaptations to their environments that have left specific variant signatures in their genomes. As a result, the genomes of Indigenous peoples are a treasure trove of unexplored variation. Some of this variation will inevitably be identified by programs like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “All of Us” research program. NIH leaders have committed to the idea that at least 50% of this program’s participants should be members of underrepresented minority populations, including U.S. Indigenous communities (Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians), a decision that explicitly connects diversity with the program’s goal of promoting equal enjoyment of the future benefits of precision medicine.

But there are reasons to believe that this promise may be an illusion. Previous government-funded, large-scale human genome sequencing efforts, such as the Human Genome Diversity Project, the International HapMap Project, and the 1000 Genomes Project, provide examples of the ways in which open-source data have been commodified in the past. These initiatives, which promised unrestricted, open access to data on population-specific biomarkers, ultimately enabled the generation of nearly a billion dollars’ worth of profits by pharmaceutical and ancestry-testing companies. If the All of Us program uses the same unrestricted data-access and sharing protocols, there will be no built-in mechanisms to protect against the commodification of Indigenous peoples’ DNA…

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Black, Native American and Fighting for Recognition in Indian Country

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2020-09-11 01:10Z by Steven

Black, Native American and Fighting for Recognition in Indian Country

The New York Times
2020-09-08

Jack Healy, Rocky Mountain correspondent


Ron Graham’s father, Theodore Graham, center, as a youth with his youngest sibling, Rowena, on his lap, in a photograph from around 1912. Mr. Graham spent decades assembling documentation showing that he is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. via Ron Graham

Enslaved people were also driven west along the Trail of Tears. After a historic Supreme Court ruling, their descendants are fighting to be counted as tribal members.

OKMULGEE, Okla. — Ron Graham never had to prove to anyone that he was Black. But he has spent more than 30 years haunting tribal offices and genealogical archives, fighting for recognition that he is also a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

“We’re African-American,” Mr. Graham, 55, said. “But we’re Native American also.”

His family history is part of a little-known saga of bondage, blood and belonging within tribal nations, one that stretches from the Trail of Tears to this summer of uprisings in America’s streets over racial injustice.

His ancestors are known as Creek Freedmen. They were among the thousands of African-Americans who were once enslaved by tribal members in the South and who migrated to Oklahoma when the tribes were forced off their homelands and marched west in the 1830s…

Read the entire article here.

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North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2020-09-10 01:16Z by Steven

North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885

Louisiana State University Press
July 2020
304 pages
6.00 x 9.00 inches
17 halftones, 1 map
Hardcover ISBN: 9780807171769

Warren Eugene Milteer Jr., Assistant Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

In North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885, Warren Eugene Milteer Jr. examines the lives of free persons categorized by their communities as “negroes,” “mulattoes,” “mustees,” “Indians,” “mixed-­bloods,” or simply “free people of color.” From the colonial period through Reconstruction, lawmakers passed legislation that curbed the rights and privileges of these non-enslaved residents, from prohibiting their testimony against whites to barring them from the ballot box. While such laws suggest that most white North Carolinians desired to limit the freedoms and civil liberties enjoyed by free people of color, Milteer reveals that the two groups often interacted—praying together, working the same land, and occasionally sharing households and starting families. Some free people of color also rose to prominence in their communities, becoming successful businesspeople and winning the respect of their white neighbors.

Milteer’s innovative study moves beyond depictions of the American South as a region controlled by a strict racial hierarchy. He contends that although North Carolinians frequently sorted themselves into races imbued with legal and social entitlements—with whites placing themselves above persons of color—those efforts regularly clashed with their concurrent recognition of class, gender, kinship, and occupational distinctions. Whites often determined the position of free nonwhites by designating them as either valuable or expendable members of society. In early North Carolina, free people of color of certain statuses enjoyed access to institutions unavailable even to some whites. Prior to 1835, for instance, some free men of color possessed the right to vote while the law disenfranchised all women, white and nonwhite included.

North Carolina’s Free People of Color, 1715–1885 demonstrates that conceptions of race were complex and fluid, defying easy characterization. Despite the reductive labels often assigned to them by whites, free people of color in the state emerged from an array of backgrounds, lived widely varied lives, and created distinct cultures—all of which, Milteer suggests, allowed them to adjust to and counter ever­-evolving forms of racial discrimination.

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Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes and Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2020-08-12 00:42Z by Steven

Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes and Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America

University of North Carolina Press
September 2020
336 pages
14 halftones, 3 maps, 4 graphs, 3 tables, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5899-5
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5898-8

A. B. Wilkinson, Associate Professor of History
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The history of race in North America is still often conceived of in black and white terms. In this book, A. B. Wilkinson complicates that history by investigating how people of mixed African, European, and Native American heritage—commonly referred to as “Mulattoes,” “Mustees,” and “mixed bloods”—were integral to the construction of colonial racial ideologies. Thousands of mixed-heritage people appear in the records of English colonies, largely in the Chesapeake, Carolinas, and Caribbean, and this book provides a clear and compelling picture of their lives before the advent of the so-called one-drop rule. Wilkinson explores the ways mixed-heritage people viewed themselves and explains how they—along with their African and Indigenous American forebears—resisted the formation of a rigid racial order and fought for freedom in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century societies shaped by colonial labor and legal systems.

As contemporary U.S. society continues to grapple with institutional racism rooted in a settler colonial past, this book illuminates the earliest ideas of racial mixture in British America well before the founding of the United States.

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On the Borders of Love and Power: Families and Kinship in the Intercultural American

Posted in Anthologies, Books, History, Law, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2020-07-08 22:52Z by Steven

On the Borders of Love and Power: Families and Kinship in the Intercultural American

University of California Press
July 2012
366 pages
Illustrations: 19 b/w photographs, 1 map, 1 table
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 9780520272385
Paperback ISBN: 9780520272392
eBook ISBN: 9780520951341

Edited by:

David Wallace Adams, Professor of History
Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio

Crista DeLuzio, Associate Professor and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor of History
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

Embracing the crossroads that made the region distinctive this book reveals how American families have always been characterized by greater diversity than idealizations of the traditional family have allowed. The essays show how family life figured prominently in relations to larger struggles for conquest and control.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction / David Wallace Adams and Crista DeLuzio
  • PART ONE. DIVERSE FAMILIES AND RACIAL HIERARCHY
    • 1. Breaking and Remaking Families: The Fostering and Adoption of Native American Children in Non-Native Families in the American West, 1880–1940 / Margaret Jacobs
    • 2. Becoming Comanches: Patterns of Captive Incorporation into Comanche Kinship Networks, 1820–1875 / Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez
    • 3. “Seeking the Incalculable Benefit of a Faithful, Patient Man and Wife”: Families in the Federal Indian Service, 1880–1925 / Cathleen D. Cahill
    • 4. Hard Choices: Mixed-Race Families and Strategies of Acculturation in the U.S. West after 1848 / Anne F. Hyde
  • PART TWO. LAW, ORDER, AND THE REGULATION OF FAMILY LIFE
    • 5. Family and Kinship in the Spanish and Mexican Borderlands: A Cultural Account / Ramón A. Gutiérrez
    • 6. Love, Honor, and the Power of Law: Probating the Ávila Estate in Frontier California / Donna C. Schuele
    • 7. “Who has a greater job than a mother?” Defining Mexican Motherhood on the U.S.-Mexico Border in the Early Twentieth Century / Monica Perales
    • 8. Borderlands/La Familia: Mexicans, Homes, and Colonialism in the Early Twentieth-Century Southwest / Pablo Mitchell
  • PART THREE. BORDERLAND CULTURES AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
    • 9. Intimate Ties: Marriage, Families, and Kinship in Eighteenth-Century Pueblo Communities / Tracy Brown
    • 10. The Paradox of Kinship: Native-Catholic Communities in Alta California, 1769–1840s / Erika Pérez
    • 11. Territorial Bonds: Indenture and Affection in Intercultural Arizona, 1864–1894 / Katrina Jagodinsky
    • 12. Writing Kit Carson in the Cold War: “The Family,” “The West,” and Their Chroniclers / Susan Lee Johnson
  • Selected Bibliography
  • List of Contributors
  • Index
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Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes makes his voice heard. He should talk about the Tomahawk Chop

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Justice, United States on 2020-07-08 18:15Z by Steven

Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes makes his voice heard. He should talk about the Tomahawk Chop

The Kansas City Star
2020-06-15

Dave Helling

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes recently joined with other NFL players in condemning racism and demanding that the league recognize the players’ right to protest injustice.

“I am Tamir Rice,” Mahomes says in the viral Black Lives Matter video, referring to the 12-year-old African American killed by the Cleveland police.

Mahomes’ willingness to take a stand sent a potent message that resonated far beyond Kansas City. “He has been the MVP of this league. He has won a Super Bowl,” said Doug Williams, a former NFL quarterback who’s African American. “It says a lot that he wanted to be involved in pushing for … change. It was very powerful.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Maria Campbell on the pain and relief of re-releasing Halfbreed with uncut account of RCMP rape

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Women on 2020-06-25 17:56Z by Steven

Maria Campbell on the pain and relief of re-releasing Halfbreed with uncut account of RCMP rape

As It Happens
CBC Radio
2019-11-29


Métis author and playwright Maria Campbell has re-released her seminal 1973 memoir Halfbreed with previously censored pages intact. (Sheena Goodyear/CBC )

Métis author says the published version of her 1973 memoir ‘didn’t tell the complete story’

Nearly five decades after Maria Campbell first published her seminal memoir Halfbreed, she says she finally feels like it’s finished.

That’s because the first version of the book was incomplete. Two integral pages detailing her account of being raped by a Mountie when she was 14 years old had been excised.

Those long-lost pages were discovered last year in an unpublished manuscript, and now the memoir has been re-released intact for the first time.

“I feel like it’s finished now, because it never felt finished for me,” Campbell said. “I always felt like there was a part of it that was missing, and that it didn’t tell the complete story.”

The Métis author, broadcaster and filmmaker joined As It Happens host Carol Off in studio to discuss Halfbreed’s legacy and continued relevance today…

Listen to the story (00:27:32) here. Read the transcript here.

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The Famous Fultz Quads

Posted in Articles, Biography, Economics, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2020-03-22 02:18Z by Steven

The Famous Fultz Quads

Stanford University Press Blog
February 2020

Andrea Freeman, Associate Professor of Law
William S. Richardson School of Law
University of Hawai’i, Mānoa


Pet Milk ad featuring the Fultz quadruplets. Their doctor sold the rights to use the sisters for marketing purposes to the highest-bidding formula company.

“Four Little Babies.” Pet Milk, “Four Little Babies Become Four Little Ladies,” advertisement, Pittsburgh Courier, October 22, 1949, 5. Public Domain.

The origin of America’s first surviving set of identical quadruplets.

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice » by Andrea Freeman.

Annie Mae Fultz could not afford to let anything go wrong with her pregnancy. Her doctor, Fred Klenner, had detected three tiny heartbeats inside her. It was 1946. Annie Mae was a tall, strong, thirty-seven-year-old half-Black, half-Cherokee woman from Tennessee.1 Dr. Klenner, although originally from Pennsylvania, happily adhered to southern racial norms.2 He had separate waiting rooms for Blacks and Whites in his downtown Reidsville, North Carolina, office. The old-fashioned decor of his practice matched his dated views. His segregated waiting rooms gave way to treatment rooms full of ancient furniture and unusual medical instruments.3 His walls displayed White supremacist literature and, later, a “Vote for George Wallace” poster.4 He vigorously defended Hitler as misunderstood to anyone who would listen.5 The local hospital where he delivered babies, Annie Penn Memorial, relegated Black mothers to the basement.6 Despite his unapologetic racism, Annie Mae had faith in Dr. Klenner’s medical abilities…

Read the entire chapter here.

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From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation on 2020-01-24 18:46Z by Steven

From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way

Simon & Schuster
2019-08-06
368 pages
Trade Paperback ISBN13: 9781982101213

Jesse Thistle, Assistant Professor in Métis Studies
York University, Toronto, Ontario

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

If I can just make it to the next minute…then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a MétisCree man who refused to give up.

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heart-warming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education—and newfound love—he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.

An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.

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Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous NB Media Co-op

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2019-12-29 02:46Z by Steven

Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous

NB Media Co-op
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
2019-11-22

Susan O’Donnell, Adjunct Professor of Sociology
University of New Brunswick

Race-shifters: white people who identify as Indigenous
Sportsman and Indigenous guides (carrying snowshoes), with game in winter. Gabe Atwin far left, ca. 1875. Image from the Provincial Archives of NB.

The number of people across Canada who self-identify as Indigenous is growing rapidly. Some of that growth can be explained by the Indigenous children of the Sixties Scoop and residential school survivors re-discovering or accepting their Indigenous identities. However an entirely different group of Canadians has emerged. “Race-shifters” are white people with no or a small amount of Indigenous ancestry who identify as Indigenous.

Race-shifters live in every province, mostly in communities with large populations of French ancestry. In this province, for example, in 1996 and 2016, the population of New Brunswick was roughly the same. However in the 1996 census, only 950 people self-identified as Métis, but in the 2016 census that number jumped to 10,200. How is this possible?

The confusion includes the misconception that anyone with Indigenous ancestry can call themselves Métis. On the contrary, “Métis” has a specific definition in Canadian law. In 2003 the Supreme Court Powley decision described a Métis person as “one who self-identifies, has an ancestral connection to a historic Métis community, and is accepted by that community.” Anyone can self-identify as “Métis” when answering a census question, but not everyone of them is a member of the historic Métis Nation that originated in the Red River Valley of Manitoba.

Darryl Leroux has been exploring the race-shifting phenomenon for more than two decades. The social scientist from St. Mary’s University was in Fredericton Nov. 20 to speak about the process he has called “white settler revisionism,” a new wave of colonialism and to launch his new book, Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity published by the University of Manitoba Press

Read the entire article here.

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