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Native American & Indigenous Communities

Suggested resources and information for those researching topics related to Native American and Indigenous Cultures

Language Reclamation

Language reclamation refers to '"efforts by Indigenous communities to claim the right to speak their heritage languages"'. See "Musings on Native American Language Reclamation and Sociolinguistics" (Leonard).

Data Sovereignty

"Indigenous data sovereignty is the right of a nation to govern the collection, ownership, and application of its own data. It derives from tribes' inherent right to govern their peoples, lands, and resources." -- from the United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network

Digital Divide

Native Americans often experience a lack of access to technology, including high-speed Internet service, which results in lacks of services and increased disparities. -- See "Native Americans on Tribal Land Are 'The Least Connected' To High-Speed Internet" (NPR) | Digital Divide (American Indian Policy Institute, Arizona State University)

Representation in Books & Literature

Depictions of Native Americans in books are often inaccurate, biased, and stereotypical. See ''"I" Is Not for Indian"' (American Indian Library Association) | Guest Review: An-Lon Chen's review of WHO WAS SACAGAWEA? (at American Indians in Children's Literature, hosted by Dr. Debbie Reese)

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)

NAGPRA requires that any Federal agencies and institutions receiving Federal funds must repatriate or transfer Native American human remains and other cultural items to the appropriate parties ..." -- from the National Park Service

Tribes without Federal Recognition

Lack of federal recognition means that some Indian Nations are not eligible for resources from agencies such as Indian Health Services. See "Unrecognized Tribes Struggle Without Federal Aid During Pandemic" (NPR).

Lack of Representation in Academia

Native Americans are not well-represented in their institutions; by extension, institutions are not sufficiently supporting their inclusion and success. e.g. in the science and engineering fields.

McAllister, Tara G., et al. “Under-Represented and Overlooked: Māori and Pasifika Scientists in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Universities and Crown-Research Institutes.” Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Aug. 2020, pp. 1–16. Taylor & Francis, doi:10.1080/03036758.2020.1796103.

The authors’ analysis reveals that in spite of verbal commitment to diversity, New Zealand’s Universities and Crown-Research Institutes have not meaningfully increased their employment of Māori or Pasifika scientists during a 10 year span (2008 – 2018).

Nelson, Donna J., and Lynnette D. Madsen. “Representation of Native Americans in US Science and Engineering Faculty.” MRS Bulletin, vol. 43, no. 5, May 2018, pp. 379–83. Springer Link, doi:10.1557/mrs.2018.108.

Using data from the Nelson Diversity Surveys (NDSs) and surveys of departments from STEM disciplines, the investigators found that Native Americans were “underrepresented among faculty in all 15 disciplines” they examined. They also noted a download trend of Native American representation in some fields, pointing to Native Americans not being retained in academia.

Research Practices

Researchers may avoid including Native Americans in their research studies and/or Native American may be reluctant to participate due to past practices where trust has been broken.

Garrison, Nanibaa’ A. “Genomic Justice for Native Americans: Impact of the Havasupai Case on Genetic Research.” Science, Technology & Human Values, vol. 38, no. 2, 2013, pp. 201–23. PubMed Central, doi:10.1177/0162243912470009.

The author interviewed human genetic researchers and IRB chairs regarding the Havasupai Tribal lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents and Arizona State University (ASU) regarding use of DNA sample from tribal members in secondary studies especially the topic of informed consent. Shifts to broad consent form, as a result of the case, may result in reduced genetic research participation by indigenous and minority population.  Not engaging these individuals, may reduce potential health benefits for their communities.

Additional Topics

The topics on this page represent a smaller number of those you may wish to research.  For additional ideas, visit the following resources.