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Anthropologists Apologize to Indigenous Communities

November 22, 2021

American Anthropological Association president Akhil Gupta issued an apology to Indigenous peoples on behalf of the association for “the traumatic effects of anthropology’s enduring legacy on Indigenous communities.”

“Since its inception, the history of American anthropology has been intertwined with a record of extractive research conducted on Indigenous communities,” Gupta said in a written statement issued Wednesday. “Anthropologists have often assigned themselves the status of ‘expert’ over the cultural narratives and social histories of the first cultures of the Americas. As ‘experts’ many anthropologists have neither respected Indigenous knowledge systems and community contributions nor addressed the intended and unintended impacts of anthropological research on those communities. Some anthropologists now acknowledge the harms that have been caused by researchers in the discipline, but it remains the case that anthropology must explicitly address the need to change its ways.”

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