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Indigenous data sovereignty


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Russo Caroll, S, Kukutai, T and Walter, M ORCID: 0000-0002-8028-5274 2021 , 'Indigenous data sovereignty', in D Mamo (ed.), The Indigenous World , The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Denmark, pp. 692-702.

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Indigenous Peoples have always been “data warriors”.1 Our ancient traditions recorded and protected information and knowledge through art, carving, song, chants and other practices.Deliberate efforts to expunge these knowledge systems werepart and parcel of colonisation, along with state-imposed practices of counting and classifying Indigenous populations. As aresult, Indigenous Peoples often encounter severe data deficitswhen trying to access high-quality, culturally-relevant data topursue their goals but an abundance of data that reflects andserves government interests regarding Indigenous Peoplesand their lands.The concept of Indigenous Data Sovereignty is a relativelyrecent one, with the first major publication on the topic only appearing in 2016.2 Indigenous Data Sovereignty is defined as theright of Indigenous Peoples to own, control, access and possessdata that derive from them, and which pertain to their members,knowledge systems, customs or territories.3, 4, 5 Indigenous DataSovereignty is supported by Indigenous Peoples’ inherent rightsof self-determination and governance over their peoples, territories and resources as affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), as well asin domestic treaties. Indigenous Data Sovereignty recognisesthat data is a strategic resource and provides a framework forthe ethical use of data to advance collective Indigenous wellbeing and self-determination.6, 7In practice, Indigenous Data Sovereignty means that Indigenous Peoples need to be the decision-makers around howdata about them are used. Given that most Indigenous data isnot in the possession of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous datagovernance is seen as a key lever for addressing Indigenous Data Sovereignty. Indigenous data governance harnesses Indigenous Peoples’ values, rights and interests to guide decision-making about how their data are collected, accessed,stored and used.8 Enacting Indigenous data governance results in Indigenous control of Indigenous data through bothinternal Indigenous community data governance policies andpractices and external stewardship of Indigenous data viamechanisms and frameworks that reflect Indigenous values.The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the necessity of enhancing Indigenous data governance as well as the pressingneed for increased data for governance and decision-making.9

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Russo Caroll, S and Kukutai, T and Walter, M
Keywords: Indigenous Data Sovereignty, policy, Data, governance
Publisher: The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
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Copyright 2021 The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)

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