All Native Voices Matter: Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic from the Field of American Indian Studies


3:30 p.m., Oct. 29, 2021

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My Arizona Lecture Series - Free Online Event

Friday, October 29, 3.30 PM AZ Time

Dr. Matthew Sakiestewa
Professor and Head, Department of Indian American Studies, University of Arizona

Hopi historian and Head of the Department of American Indian Studies Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert examines the way University of Arizona campus administration has approached the COVID-19 situation from a Western scientific perspective, making clear its strong desire to mandate that all faculty, staff, and students receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He argues that this approach does not take into account or give room for an appropriate Native response to the vaccine based on an individual's cultural or spiritual beliefs. Nor does it consider the long and painful history that Native people have endured as a result of the federal government's mandatory inoculations, forced sterilizations, and the racism and discrimination directed toward Natives under the guise of "public health.” Challenging and pushing back against forms of white paternalism that undermine and threaten Native agency and self-determination, Gilbert instead offers a positive path forward involving mutual respect, human decency, and a commitment to valuing and taking seriously all Native voices at the University of Arizona.