Havasupai Suit

Members of the Havasupai tribe had DNA samples taken from them so that Arizona State University researchers could understand the high rates of diabetes, yet their samples were also used to study mental illness in the tribe.

  • Havasupai Settlement From ASU In Scandalous Blood-Sample Case (Phoenix New Times) April 22, 2010.
    Dozens of tribal members filed lawsuits against the researchers, the Arizona Board of Regents, ASU president Michael Crow, and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, claiming that "ASU's actions have invaded the personal privacy of Havasupai tribal members and the cultural and religious privacy of the Havasupai tribe."

  • Indian Tribe Wins Fight to Limit Research of Its DNA (NY Times) April 21, 2010.
    SUPAI, Ariz. — Seven years ago, the Havasupai Indians, who live amid the turquoise waterfalls and red cliffs miles deep in the Grand Canyon, issued a “banishment order” to keep Arizona State University employees from setting foot on their reservation — an ancient punishment for what they regarded as a genetic-era betrayal.

  • Research Without Patient Consent (Who Owns Your Body) 2007.
    Can scientists do genetic research on your tissues without your consent? That's the essential question in a lawsuit pending before Judge Janet E. Barton of the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona. Members of the Havasupai Tribe allege that researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Arizona collected 400 blood samples from tribal members for diabetes research, but that those same samples were used for additional unauthorized research on schizophrenia, inbreeding, and population migration. The tribe asserts that research on schizophrenia and inbreeding stigmatizes them and that they would not have authorized any migration research because it conflicts with their religious origin story. 

  • Indian Givers (Phoenix New Times) May 27, 2004.
    Carletta Tilousi got a phone call in March 2003 that would not only change her life, but that of every person in her tribe. She's a member of the Havasupai, a small Indian nation in northern Arizona with about 650 members. Most of the tribe lives in Supai, a picturesque village tucked away on the floor of the western Grand Canyon.

  • Havasupai Indian Reservation (National Park Service)
    Havasupai means people of the blue-green waters. The spectacular waterfalls and isolated community within the Havasupai Indian Reservation attract thousands of visitors each year. The Havasupai are intimately connected to the water and the land. This blue- green water is sacred to the Havasupai. It flows not only across the land, but also through each tribal member. When you enter their land, you enter their home, their place of origin.