Kim TallBear

Kim TallBear is a Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate professor at the University of Alberta, specializing in racial politics in science.[1] TallBear was educated at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California, Santa Cruz, where she was advised by Donna Haraway[2] and Professor Emeritus James Clifford (historian).[3]

Kim TallBear
NationalitySisseton Wahpeton Oyate
TitleCanada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and Environment
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts at Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Doctoral advisorDonna Haraway
Academic work
DisciplineIndigenous studies, Anthropology
InstitutionsUniversity of Alberta

A member of the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association,[4] in late 2016 she became the first ever Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and Environment.[5] An anthropologist specialising in the intersection of science and technology with culture, TallBear is a frequent media commentator on issues of Tribal membership, genetics and identity.[6][7][8] Her first book, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science, was released in 2013 by the University of Minnesota Press. Described as a "provocative and incisive work of interdisciplinary scholarship",[9] the book discusses the marketing of DNA testing as something capable of determining ancestry and race, and problematizes this by discussing the ways in which it shades into racial science.[10]

In more recent work, including a keynote at the National Women's Studies Association meeting in 2016, TallBear has focused on sexuality, specifically on decolonizing the valorization of monogamy that she characterizes as emblematic of "settler sexualities."[11] This builds on work she has been doing in a blog written under an alter ego, "The Critical Polyamorist."[12]

In October 2018, she was featured in numerous media outlets critiquing Elizabeth Warren's claim to Indigenous ancestry.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

Selected works


  • "Dossier: Theorizing Queer Inhumanisms: An Indigenous Reflection on Working Beyond the Human/Not Human" in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Vol. 21(2-3), 2015: 230-235
  • "The Emergence, Politics, and Marketplace of Native American DNA" in The Routledge Handbook of Science, Technology, and Society, eds. Daniel Lee Kleinman and Kelly Moore. London: Routledge, 2014: 21-37
  • "Tribal Housing, Co-Design & Cultural Sovereignty" in Edmunds, David S., Ryan Shelby, Angela James, Lenora Steele, Michelle Baker, Yael Valerie Perez, and Kim TallBear Science, Technology & Human Values 38 (6) (2013): 801-828
  • "Genomic Articulations of Indigeneity" in Social Studies of Science 43(4) (August 2013): 509-534
  • "Your DNA is Our History." Genomics, Anthropology, and the Construction of Whiteness as Property," co-authored with Jenny Reardon in Current Anthropology53(S12) (April 2012): S233-S245
  • "The Illusive Gold Standard in Genetic Ancestry Testing," co-authored with Lee, S. S-J., D. Bolnick, T. Duster, P. Ossorio in Science 325 (5943) (July 3, 2009): 38-39
  • "Commentary" (on Decoding Implications of the Genographic Project for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)" in International Journal of Cultural Property 16 (2009): 189-192
  • "The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry," co-authored with Bolnick, Deborah A., Duana Fullwiley, Troy Duster, Richard S. Cooper, Joan H. Fujimura, Jonathan Kahn, Jay Kaufman, Jonathan Marks, Ann Morning, Alondra Nelson, Pilar Ossorio, Jenny Reardon, and Susan M. Reverby in Science, 318(5849) (October 19, 2007): 399-400
  • "Narratives of Race and Indigeneity in the Genographic Project" in Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 35(3) (Fall 2007): 412-424


  • "Beyond the Life/Not Life Binary: A Feminist-Indigenous Reading of Cryopreservation, Interspecies Thinking and the New Materialisms." in Joanna Radin and Emma Kowal's edited Cryopolitics, published 2017 by MIT Press
  • "Dear Indigenous Studies, It's Not Me, It's You. Why I Left and What Needs to Change." in Aileen Moreton-Robinson's edited Critical Indigenous Studies: Engagements in First World Locations, published 2016 by Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2016: 69-82
  • Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science, published 2013 by Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
  • “DNA, Blood and Racializing the Tribe,” in Jayne O. Ifekwunige's ‘Mixed Race’ Studies: A Reader, published 2003 in Wicazo Sá Review Vol. 18(1) (2003): 81-107, then in 2004 by London and New York: Routledge


  1. "Kim TallBear". Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  2. "Kim TallBear - Faculty of Native Studies" (PDF). University of Alberta. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  3. "Kim TallBear - Faculty of Native Studies" (PDF). University of Alberta. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  4. "NAISA - Kim TallBear". Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  5. Clancy, Clare (December 2, 2016). "University of Alberta receives $11.9 million for Canada Research Chairs". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  6. Cram, Stephanie (April 10, 2016). "New era of genetic research must include more indigenous people, says Keolu Fox". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  7. Geddes, Linda (5 February 2014). "'There is no DNA test to prove you're Native American'". New Scientist. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  8. "Sorry, that DNA test doesn't make you Indigenous". CBC Radio. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. November 6, 2016.
  9. Dennison, Jean (17 July 2014). "Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science". Medical Anthropology Quarterly. John Wiley. 28 (4). ISSN 1548-1387.
  10. "Native American dna: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science". Journal of American History. 101 (3). doi:10.1093/jahist/jau638.
  11. 2016 NWSA Friday Plenary: Decolonizing Institutions, retrieved 2017-10-13
  12. The Critical Polyamorist
  13. Gupta, Prachi. "Kim Tallbear on Elizabeth Warren's DNA Test Claiming Native American Heritage". The Slot. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  14. "Analysis | Just about everything you've read on the Warren DNA test is wrong". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  15. "Elizabeth Warren's DNA and what it tells us about race". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  16. "Native American professor: Warren shows 'privileges of whiteness'". Washington Examiner. 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  17. "Elizabeth Warren's DNA test doesn't prove she's Native American". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  18. "Strike Against Sovereignty? Sen. Warren asserts Native American ancestry via DNA -". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
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