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The Havasupai trusted the white man to help with a
diabetes epidemic. Instead, ASU tricked them into
bleeding for academia.
Published on May 27, 2004
Carletta Tilousi got a phone call in March 2003 that would not
only change her life, but that of every person in her tribe.
She's a member of the Havasupai, a
small Indian nation in northern
Arizona with about 650 members.
Most of the tribe lives in Supai, a
picturesque village tucked away on
the floor of the western Grand
The call came from John Martin, a
longtime anthropology professor at
Arizona State University who had
gained the tribe's trust, as much as
any white person can.
The tribe had allowed Martin in its
midst because members thought he
could help them with their diabetes
epidemic. After spending more than
a year in Supai in the early 1960s,
he published his doctoral
dissertation on the tribe at the
University of Chicago.
Tilousi says Martin told her that a
student was about to defend
another dissertation on a subject
that would be of interest to her.
"John said that the guy had used
our tribal blood in his research,"
she recalls. "I said, 'What?!'"
Her curiosity piqued, Tilousi
attended the presentation at ASU.
About 30 others also showed up,
including Martin and Therese
Markow -- a nationally known
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