Blood Feud

A controversy over South American DNA samples held in North American laboratories ripples through anthropology

In early 2002, an elder from a Yanomami village deep in the Brazilian rain forest traveled more than 2,700 miles to a conference at Cornell University. In his public remarks — which were made in his indigenous language and translated by the anthropologists Janet M. Chernela and Gale Goodwin Gomez — the elder, who is known as Toto Yanomami, asked the assembled scholars for help. He wanted them to secure the return of blood samples that were taken in his village decades