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NALSA Event Explored Race, Genetics, Indian Identity & the Law


More than 100 people attended the recent symposium sponsored by the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA), which explored what role race and genetics should play in defining "Indianness." Speakers included Hamline Associate Professor Jonathan Kahn, who provided an overview of the diverse area where race, genetics and law intersect; Kimberly TallBear, a postdoctoral fellow from the University of California, Berkeley, who gave an overview of the basic science behind ancestry DNA testing; John Borrows, visiting professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and Professor Law, University of Victoria, Canada, who discussed the legal and political ramifications surrounding a designation of "indianness," along with tribal approaches to defining "race" in the United States, Canada and New Zealand; and John Jacobson, an attorney with Jacobson Buffalo, who provided a practitioner's perspective on tribal litigation and the controversial Lucy Allen v. Cherokee Nation case.

Hamline NALSA President Jody TallBear (top) introduced the speakers including: Associate Professor Jonathan Kahn (center), Kimberly TallBear (center), Professor John Borrows, and John Jacobson (bottom).