Native Symposium

16th Annual Native Symposium

Illuminating Native Voices

All events are free and open to the public 

October 25 - November 19

KEYNOTE: Dr. Kim Tallbear

  • Wednesday, Nov. 3
  • 6 p.m.

Register for Virtual Keynote

Dr. Kim Tallbear

kimIn August 2015 I moved to the University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies where I am an Associate Professor. I came to the University of Alberta to work with one of the strongest groups of Indigenous Studies scholars anywhere in the world. There are 1100 Aboriginal students at the university and many Native faculty and staff in multiple faculties on campus. In 2016, the Government of Canada awarded me a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Environment. “Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. They improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada’s international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people through student supervision, teaching, and the coordination of other researchers’ work.” [1] I am excited to build a research and training program at the University of Alberta that is focused on indigenous peoples’ engagements with science and technology as those fields and projects serve Indigenous self-determination.

I am an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. I am also descended from the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. I was raised on the Flandreau Santee Sioux reservation in South Dakota and in St. Paul, Minnesota by my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. I originally trained to become a community and environmental planner at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). From 1992-2001 I worked on various planning projects for national tribal organizations, tribal governments, federal agencies and in private consulting. I worked primarily on projects having to do with tribal government interests in nuclear waste management and on a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded project to explore the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI,) for indigenous peoples of human genetic research. Realizing that my deeper intellectual interests were in the cultures and politics of science and technology and their implications for tribes and other indigenous peoples, I returned to graduate school. I completed in 2005 a Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Cruz in History of Consciousness. Working with Professors James Clifford and Donna Haraway, I wrote a dissertation exploring the concept of “Native American DNA” as an object of human population genetics research and as a focus of the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) genetic ancestry testing industry. I taught for 18 months at Arizona State University in Tempe in the Department of American Indian Studies before spending one year as a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in both Gender & Women’s Studies and in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2008 I was hired as Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy in the ESPM Division of Society & Environment. During the 2012-13 academic year, I was a Donald D. Harrington Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin. In 2013 I accepted a position as Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) at Texas.

I study the ways in which genetic science is co-constituted with notions of race and indigeneity and I have a just published book on the subject, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science. More broadly, I am interested in the historical and ongoing roles of science and technology (technoscience) in the colonization of indigenous peoples and others. Yet because tribes and other indigenous peoples insist on their status as sovereigns, I am also interested in the increasing role of technoscience in indigenous governance. How do U.S. tribes and others resist, regulate, collaborate in, and initiate research and technology development in ways that support self-governance and cultural sovereignty? What are the challenges for indigenous peoples related to science and technology, and what types of innovative work and thinking occur at the interface of technoscience and indigenous governance? Finally, how will indigenous governance of and through research and technology development affect the priorities, practices, and values of technoscientific fields? I bring into my research, collaborations, and teaching indigenous, postcolonial, and feminist science studies analyses that enable not only critique but generative thinking about the possibilities for democratizing science and technology.

In 2013, I finished a 3-year term (2010-2013) as an elected member of the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). I am also an elected officer of the Society for Cultural Anthropology and a member of the Executive Program Committee (EPC) for the 2016 American Anthropological Association (AAA) annual meeting. I am a founding member of the Advisory Board for the University of Illinois’ Institute for Genomic Biology Summer Internship for Native Americans in Genomics (SING); and an Editorial Board member for the U.K.-based journal Science as Culture. I recently joined the SACNAS News Editorial Advisory Board, published by the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. I have also advised the President of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) on issues related to genomics and indigenous peoples.


 UEN Film Screening: "Chasing Voices" 

Virtual & In-Person

  • Nov. 11, 2021
  • SU Ballroom A
  • 5-8 p.m.

photo from UEN video



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Please contact Tashina Barber two weeks in advance to request accommodations in relation to a disability: 801-626-7367 |