This talk takes up the recent controversy over genetically engineered (GE) salmon and the FDA's approval of these fast-growing "frankenfish" for human consumption, especially as it concerns the Pacific Northwest. While many believe that GE aquaculture plays a necessary role in the future of food security, Indigenous communities throughout the world have raised concerns about the potential impacts of GE food technology on traditional foods and the limited avenues for Indigenous input in the approval processes. Weaving together issues of ecology, climate change, and tribal sovereignty, Dr. Schneider argues that the heart of the issue is a clash between Western scientific values (including risk-based assessment, colonial right of discovery, and intellectual property) and Indigenous epistemologies, which take a more comprehensive approach to the complex relationships between the environment and all living beings inhabiting it. Ultimately, given that salmon have been intensively managed by humans for centuries, the debate over GE salmon is part of a much larger conversation about what our relationship with nature can and should look like in a settler colonial context.
Dr. Schneider’s talk will be followed by a comment by Dr. Nanibaa’ A. Garrison, assistant professor in the Division of Bioethics at the UW/Seattle Children’s Hospital who studies genomics and Native communities.
Lindsey Schneider is a scholar of indigeneity whose research interests lie in the intersection of Ethnic Studies, Religious Studies, and Ecology, particularly as they relate to cultural food practices. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California Riverside and currently serves as Program Coordinator for the University of Idaho’s Native American Student Center.