Oppose The Genographic Project

Oppose The Genographic Project

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John Ahni Schertow
November 27, 2006
 

The Genographic Project proposes to take over 100,000 blood samples and historical knowledge from Indigenous peoples around the world. It is a collaborative project of the National Geographic Society, IBM Corporation, and the Waitt Family Foundation (Gateway Computer funds).

Why Oppose the Genographic Project?
It is Exploitive, Unethical Research

They will take the blood or other bodily tissue samples for their own use, to further their own research on human history, with no potential benefits from that research for Indigenous peoples. The GP expects to get full informed consent in 20 minutes from Indigenous participants! If an Indigenous person consents to participate in the GP, the informed consent form requires them to consent to have their samples available for future human migration studies. Indigenous peoples will bear all the risks in this research.

It May Ignore and/or Discount Indigenous Knowledge & Undermine Our Rights

They will tell you who you are and where you come from, ignoring existing Indigenous knowledge about ourselves. In fact, their informed consent form states: “It is possible that some of findings that result from this study may contradict an oral, written, or other traditional held by you or by members of your group.” Despite the speculative nature of genetic research on human histories, these findings could be used to undermine “indigenousness” or “aboriginality” of Indigenous peoples and our rights as the original inhabitants of our territories.

It Will Promote Research on the Ancestors

This research promotes the destructive analysis of genetic material taken from the bodies of our deceased ancestors and attempt to compare them to modern populations. The ancestors bodies are sacred and should not be desecrated in the name of scientific curiosity.

Indigenous Blood is not for sale

The GP is trying to induce Indigenous peoples to participate in the Project by establishing “The Legacy Fund,” which proposes to donate money to Indigenous peoples’ cultural preservation projects. There is no connection between preserving blood and perpetuating Indigenous culture. Our blood is sacred, inalienable and not for sale.

It is a Continuation of the Human Genome Diversity Project

In the 1990s, Indigenous peoples around the world built a worldwide movement opposing the Human Genome Diversity Project, which came to be known as the Vampire Project because it sought to collect blood from 700 different Indigenous communities. The HGDP failed to consult with Indigenous peoples, and didn’t anticipate Indigenous peoples’ strong opposition to its project. The HGDP also failed to gain support from UNESCO and from the United States’ government. The Genographic Project is the Vampire Project revamped, but with much larger impact, proposing to take 100,000 samples and construct a database of genetic information derived from the samples and oral histories of Indigenous peoples.

This page is from: treatycouncil.org

Also see:
http://www.ipcb.org/issues/human_genetics
Visit http://www.ipcb.org or email ipcb@ipcb.org

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