The settlement agreed to Tuesday by the university Board of Regents ends years of litigation, The Washington Post reports. Forty-one Havasupai sued the university, saying blood donated for research into diabetes had been used for other purposes.
The Havasupai, numbering fewer than 1,000, live in a remote area in the Grand Canyon. Since the 1960s, the tribe has been hit hard by Type 2 diabetes.
Members of the tribe were upset to learn blood samples were being used for research on the effects of inbreeding and to suggest their ancestors migrated from Asia. The traditional tribal belief is that the Havasupai were created to be the guardians of the Grand Canyon.
"I'm not against scientific research," said Carletta Tilousi, a member of the tribal council who helped recruit Havasupai blood donors. "I just want it to be done right. They used our blood for all these studies, people got degrees and grants, and they never asked our permission."
Therese Markow, a geneticist who now teaches at the University of California San Diego, told the Post the Havasupai knew in 1990 that blood samples might be used for other research.