Research and Innovation A class assignment to track COVID-19’s spread among people in the Navajo Nation , the largest Native American tribe in the United States, became an important mission for a group of NC State students last year.
Madhusudan Katti , an associate professor of leadership in public science at NC State, teaches students about historical biases and inequitable practices in science in the class “Decolonizing Science.” Last spring, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the class launched a project to track the spread of the virus among the Diné, which is the name the Navajo people call themselves, across multiple states through September. In an article in a progressive publication, Science for the People , they detailed how lack of good data can have real health impacts on people, contributing to disparities for the Navajo and others.
“In this class, we’re exploring how science is conducted, and how it impacts Indigenous people,” Katti said. “That’s the orientation that got the students talking about how the pandemic is impacting people differently and asking if science is addressing people equally or not. Is research on COVID being done in an unbiased way, or is it still perpetuating racial, ethnic or other differences?”
The Abstract spoke with Katti and project collaborator Karletta Chief , an associate professor of environmental science at the University of Arizona and a member of the Navajo Nation, to talk about the project.
TA : Can you explain the concept behind “decolonizing science?”
Katti : The history of […]