Episode 90: How Western Media's False Binary Between "Science" and Indigenous Rights is Used to Erase Native People

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By Citations Needed, Nima Shirazi, and Adam Johnson. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
“Science and religion fight over Hawaii's highest point,” one CNN headline puts it. “Desecrating sacred land or finding new frontiers?” BBC asks. "Science, Interrupted: Mauna Kea Observatories ‘caught in the middle,’” Pacific Business News writes. When tensions arise between native communities and the so-called “pursuit of science,” more often than not Western media presents this point of conflict as a symmetrical and simplistic case of “science vs. superstition.” Science is framed as a morally and politically neutral quest for truth––an objective and innovative good that will unequivocally benefit humanity. But Western “science”––despite its rank-and-file advocates' often best intentions–– has historically been used as the public relations vanguard of colonialism and white supremacy. A Trojan Horse presented as ideologically neutral, followed by an outpouring of exploitation, industry and the erasure of native peoples––both culturally and physically. While everyone can agree scientific research and progress are good things, the institution of “science” as such––from North America to Australia to Africa to Palestine-–has a long history of serving on the front lines of white, capitalist expansionism. This week we are going to discuss this history, how anti-colonial scientists are pushing back against these forces, and how we can expand human knowledge and understanding without weaponizing the enterprise to serve the interest of power. We're joined on this episode by Nick Estes, Assistant Professor in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico.

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