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In lamenting the “broken promise that undermines human genome research”, this journal implies that researchers have a right to access information across databases (see Nature590, 198–201; 2021). In our view, this problematically frames ‘equity’ and ‘progress’ for scientists and dismisses the rights of those who contributed the DNA. As Indigenous geneticists, we remind researchers of the broken promise to extend medical benefits to communities whose genomic data are publicly available.