All Native Voices Matter: Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic from the Field of American Indian Studies
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, implementing a requirement that all employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine in response to President Joe Biden's executive order requiring institutions that contract with the federal government to comply with guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force. 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." 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.
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