Culturally relevant genomics curriculum
Many tribal colleges still lack the capacity to offer any culturally-relevant genomics education in their curricula. With the lack of trained tribal professionals in genomics and the concerns many tribal communities have over the manipulation of DNA for research, it is imperative that a resource be created that can demystify genomics for Indigenous students, such that future leaders can make informed decisions regarding their community’s access to genomics research. However, tribal communities are not all alike, and can differ in many important ways that could affect how genomics might be presented at each college. To this end, we propose creating a freely accessible online introductory genomics curriculum that would cover a variety of topics through distinct modules—instructors at tribal colleges could then choose to adopt the curriculum in its entirety, or choose to include any module as a stand-alone topic in a current course. We are designing modules for an online Introduction to Genomics curriculum that will be heavily focused on implications for tribal communities. Whenever possible, Indigenous experts will be recruited to engage a diversity of tribal views and challenges surrounding genomics research.
In 2016, Dr. Rachel Arnold and other members of the Tribal Colleges Consortium on Genomics Training (TCCGT), attended an NHGRI short course in genomics. In 2018, members of the TCCGT met again at a workshop to discuss genomics curricula in Tribal colleges. Discussions among the participating members centered around the need for culturally-relevant curricula.
There is a need for courses that will articulate a more optimistic vision of genomics, to engage students constructively with a new vision of how genomics data can be used
productively and justly to further social, economic, and cultural goals. Topics within the course will include blood quantum, the lactase persistence gene, and protecting the genetics of wild rice, bison, and salmon. As well as data sovereignty within tribal communities.