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To: Gwen Phillips, Ktunaxa Nation

From: Stephanie Carroll Rainie, Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona


Project: International Indigenous Data Sovereignty
Timeline: September 2016 – December 2016
The project goal was to strengthen international collaboration, advocacy, and research focused
on Indigenous data sovereignty. To do so, I worked to formally and informally to network those
working on Indigenous data sovereignty in Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, the United States,
and elsewhere with the Ktunaxa Nation and the British Columbia First Nations Data Governance
Initiative.
In the US, Stephanie Carroll Rainie and Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear launched the United States
Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network (USIDSN) in April 2016 to “help[s] ensure that data for
and about Indigenous nations and peoples in the US (American Indians, Alaska Natives, and
Native Hawaiians) are utilized to advance Indigenous aspirations for collective and individual
wellbeing. USIDSN’s primary function is to provide research information and policy advocacy to
safeguard the rights and promote the interests of Indigenous nations and peoples in relation to
data,” (usindigenousdata.arizona.edu).
The USIDSN’s Advisory Council includes tribal leaders and staff, scholars, and policy
advocates. Over the past year, the USIDSN and its Advisory Council members have elevated
discussions of Indigenous data, data equity, and data science with partners and audiences
ranging from tribes to tribal colleges to federal government agencies to scholars to affinity
organizations. Advisory Council members have collaborated on over 10 presentations, 12
events, and one peer-reviewed manuscript. Rainie and Rodriguez-Lonebear also created a one-
credit short course, “Data Building for Nation Building: Indigenous Data Sovereignty and
Governance,” at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. Inaugural
course attendees in January 2017 included tribal data users, tribal leaders, researchers, and
Indigenous scholars from a variety of fields including business, law, and the environment.
The USIDSN collaborates internationally with the British Columbia First Nations Data
Governance Initiative, Te Mana Raraunga - Maori Data Sovereignty Network in New Zealand,
and the Maiamnayri Wingara Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Sovereignty Group in
Australia, as well as burgeoning initiatives in Hawaii and Sweden. Over the past two years these
groups interacted in an ad hoc fashion to share information and strategies and partner on
research. The international collaborations produced four events, six joint panel/workshops
initiatives, and a co-edited book, Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an Agenda (Kukutai &
Taylor 2016).
As a result of this project and collaborations with Christopher Horsethief (CA), Gwen Phillips
(CA), Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear (US), Tahu Kukutai (NZ), and Maggie Walter (AUS), Stephanie
Carroll Rainie launched an International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group through
the NSF supported Research Data Alliance focused on “more robust and coherent international
collaboration to achieve impactful outcomes at the intersection of Indigenous data sovereignty,
Indigenous data governance, and research,” (https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/international-
indigenous-data-sovereignty-ig). Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear was recently named a Research
Data Alliance Early Career Data Fellow for 2017-2018, during which time she will collaborate

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with other emerging data scientists to advance Indigenous data projects. The RDA is to approve
the group by summer 2017.
Once officially formed, the International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group will provide
a platform from which to launch international research projects, collaborate to form global
principles for Indigenous data sovereignty, and advocate for inclusion of those principles within
entities such as the United Nations, Open Data Charter, and others. Additionally, the group will
facilitate efforts to strategize recognition of Indigenous data sovereignty via common law,
multinational corporations, and others.
Additionally, Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear (US), Tahu Kukutai (NZ), and Maui Hudson (NZ) will join
me at the June 2017 The National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center
meeting “Building Tribal Research and Evaluation Capacity,” in Uncasville, CT. International
attendance at the event and collaborations, discussions, and strategy to be discussed while
there are direct results of this project support to network individuals, Indigenous nations,
scholars, and practitioners working in the Indigenous data sovereignty sphere.

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RDA Interest Group Draft Charter Template

Name of Proposed Interest Group: International Indigenous Data Sovereignty

Introduction (A brief articulation of what issues the IG will address, how this IG is aligned with
the RDA mission, and how this IG would be a value-added contribution to the RDA community):

The call for Indigenous data sovereignty (ID-Sov) —the right of a nation to govern the
collection, ownership, and application of its own data—has grown in intensity and scope over the
past five years. To date three national-level Indigenous data sovereignty networks exist: Te Mana
Raraunga - Maori Data Sovereignty Network, the United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty
Network (USIDSN), and the Maiamnayri Wingara Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data
Sovereignty Group in Australia. Similar initiatives are underway in Hawaii and Sweden.
Currently, these networks are engaging in an informal, and somewhat adhoc fashion, to share
information and strategies, hold joint events, and collaborate on research. In the last two years
alone this spirit of collaboration has produced four events1, six joint panel/workshops initiatives2,
and a co-edited book, Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an Agenda. Freely available online,
the book had about 2,000 downloads within a month of publication, reflecting the very high level
of interest in ID-Sov. These efforts notwithstanding, there are resource and infrastructure
constraints to advancing the shared goals and aspirations of these ID-Sov stakeholders. What is
needed is a more robust and coherent international collaboration to achieve impactful outcomes
at the intersection of Indigenous data sovereignty, Indigenous data governance, and research.

The goals of the International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group are clearly
aligned with the RDA mission of creating a global community to develop and adopt
infrastructure that promotes data-sharing, data-driven research, and data use. Those of us already
involved in the national-level networks are strong advocates for data-driven research and data
use, and are also working in varied ways to build data capabilities beyond academic institutions,
so as to benefit Indigenous communities. Through more effective collaboration, we seek to
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These are: International Workshop on Data Sovereignty for Indigenous Peoples: Current Practice and Futures
Needs, Canberra, July 2015 (hosted by John Taylor and Tahu Kukutai, sponsored by Academy of Social Sciences in
Australia); Indigenous open data summit, Madrid, October 2016 (hosted by USIDSN, sponsored by the Native
Nations Institute and the International Open Data Conference); Indigenous Data Sovereignty Summit, Auckland,
November 2016 (hosted by Te Mana Raraunga, sponsored by Swedish Research Council, Wallenberg Academy
Fellows, and Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga Māori Centre of Research Excellence); Indigenous Data Governance, Los
Angeles, May 2017 (hosted by USIDSN, sponsored by the Native Nations Institute and the University of California
Los Angeles).
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A joint panel ‘Indigenous Data Governance and Open Data Futures’ at the 3rd International Open Data
Conference, Ottawa, May 2015; a joint panel ‘In pursuit of Indigenous data sovereignty: Directions and challenges’
at the Native American Indigenous Studies conference, Hawaii, May 2016; a collaborative workshop ‘Indigenous
Data and Information Sovereignty: Making Open Data work for Indigenous Peoples’ at the RDA Eighth Plenary,
September 2016; a joint panel ‘Indigenous + Data’ at the 4th International Open Data Conference, Madrid, October,
2016; a masterclass on Indigenous Data Sovereignty at the Common Roots Indigenous Governance conference,
Brisbane, March 2017; a joint panel “Indigenous Nation Data Governance: Data for Nation Rebuilding” at the
National Congress of American Indians mid-year Policy Research Center data pre-conference, Uncasville, CT, June
2017.
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provide a highly visible international platform for ID-Sov that integrates and leverages existing
ID-sov groups to create new opportunities for research and outreach. We also seek to attract new
stakeholders beyond our current networks, including researchers, data users and indigenous
communities. To that end all three existing ID-Sov networks have developed strong relationships
with Indigenous stakeholders including tribes, Non Governmental Organisations, and Indigenous
policy institutes, and researchers.

The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group will add value to the RDA
and ID-Sov communities through the following objectives:
1. Serving as a platform that leads to the formation of one or more Working Groups. We
envisage that our ID-Sov IG would lead to the establishment of a Working Group, with a
focus on co-creating an international indigenous data governance framework founded on
ID-Sov principles (see below).
2. Enabling better communication and coordination across different Working
Groups/Interest Groups. One of the important features of ID-Sov is that it has broad
relevance and potential for impact across diverse sectors and activities including (but not
limited to) agriculture, genetics, archiving, intellectual property rights relating to
traditional knowledge, data versioning, and mapping. In addition to sharing strategies and
resources within their groups, the IG and WGs will also be in a position to engage with a
global community of researchers, policy-makers, and leaders.
3. Serving to communicate and coordinate the efforts of the national-level Indigenous
data sovereignty networks efforts, fostering synergies, bringing new groups/members to
RDA and conversely bringing the WGs activities to the attention of external parties.

User scenario(s) or use case(s) the IG wishes to address (what triggered the desire for this IG in
the first place):

Like other nation states, Indigenous nations need data about their citizens and communities
to make informed decisions. However, the information that Indigenous nations have access to is
often unreliable, inaccurate, and irrelevant. Federal, state, and local governments have primarily
collected these data for their own use. Indigenous nations’ reliance on external data that do not
reflect the community’s needs, priorities, and self-conceptions is a threat to self-determination.

The demand for Indigenous data is increasing as Indigenous nations and communities
engage in economic, social, and cultural development on an unprecedented level. Given the
billions of dollars in research funding spent each year and the increasing momentum of the
international big data and open data movements, Indigenous nations and communities are
uniquely positioned to claim a seat at the table to ensure Indigenous peoples are directly involved
in efforts to promote data equity in Indigenous communities.

The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group will provide infrastructure
and collaboration to advance the shared goals and aspirations of these ID-Sov stakeholders. In
addition, the IG provides a platform at the intersection of Indigenous data sovereignty,
Indigenous data governance, and research to educate scholars across disciplines share WG

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outcomes and outputs with

Objectives (A specific set of focus areas for discussion, including use cases that pointed to the
need for the IG in the first place. Articulate how this group is different from other current
activities inside or outside of RDA.):

Neither an IG nor a WG exists within or external to RDA that focuses on international


collaborations on ID-Sov. The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group
objectives include:
1. Serving as a platform that leads to the formation of one or more Working Groups. We
envisage that our ID-Sov IG would lead to the establishment of a Working Group, with a
focus on co-creating an international indigenous data governance framework founded on
ID-Sov principles (see below).
2. Enabling better communication and coordination across different Working
Groups/Interest Groups. One of the important features of ID-Sov is that it has broad
relevance and potential for impact across diverse sectors and activities including (but not
limited to) agriculture, genetics, archiving, intellectual property rights relating to
traditional knowledge, data versioning, and mapping. In addition to sharing strategies and
resources within their groups, the IG and WGs will also be in a position to engage with a
global community of researchers, policy-makers, and leaders.
3. Serving to communicate and coordinate the efforts of the national-level Indigenous
data sovereignty networks efforts, fostering synergies, bringing new groups/members to
RDA and conversely bringing the WGs activities to the attention of external parties.

Participation (Address which communities will be involved, what skills or knowledge should they
have, and how will you engage these communities. Also address how this group proposes to
coordinate its activity with relevant related groups.):

The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group will link Indigenous data
users, leaders, information and communication technology providers, researchers, policymakers
and planners, businesses, service providers, and community advocates together to provide a
highly visible international platform for ID-Sov that integrates and leverages existing ID-sov
groups to create new opportunities for research and outreach. To that end all three existing ID-
Sov networks have developed strong relationships with Indigenous stakeholders including tribes,
Non Governmental Organisations, and Indigenous policy institutes, and researchers. We propose
to use the RDA Plenary as an opportunity to establish relationships and connections with other
IG. We also seek to attract new stakeholders beyond our current networks, including researchers,
data users and indigenous communities. Note that IG members need not be Indigenous, so long
as they are interested in furthering the aims of ID-Sov, data governance toward ID-Sov, and
data-driven research.

Outcomes (Discuss what the IG intends to accomplish. Include examples of WG topics or


supporting IG-level outputs that might lead to WGs later on.):

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The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group envisions three categories
of outcomes:
1. Working Groups. We envisage that our ID-Sov IG would lead to the establishment of
Working Groups, with a focus on:
1. Co-creating an international indigenous data governance framework founded on ID-
Sov principles and
2. Establishing an international collaborative funding proposal to Indigenous
stakeholders in order to design a clear pathway from research to impact.
2. Enabling better communication and coordination across different Working
Groups/Interest Groups. One of the important features of ID-Sov is that it has broad
relevance and potential for impact across diverse sectors and activities including (but not
limited to) agriculture, genetics, archiving, intellectual property rights relating to
traditional knowledge, data versioning, and mapping. In addition to sharing strategies and
resources within their groups, the IG and WGs will also be in a position to engage with a
global community of researchers, policy-makers, and leaders.
3. Serving to communicate and coordinate the efforts of the national-level Indigenous
data sovereignty networks efforts, fostering synergies, bringing new groups/members to
RDA and conversely bringing the WGs activities to the attention of external parties.

Mechanism (Describe how often your group will meet and how will you maintain momentum
between Plenaries.):

The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group will use the following
mechanisms for communication and collaboration.
● Monthly virtual meetings via video conference, shared documents, etc.
● Informal and frequent email contact among chairs and workgroups.
● Monthly listserv messages to IG members from the chairs about IG updates, WG efforts,
etc.
● Biannual RDA Plenaries
● Listserv and Facebook group where members may post about Indigenous data
sovereignty and data governance resources, current events, and conferences.

Timeline (Describe draft milestones and goals for the first 12 months):
The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group will commence via virtual
chair meetings. In addition, varying combinations of IG co-chairs and members have
collaborative events1 and panels2 planned in March, April, and May 2017. These events will
launch the WG1 effort to co-create an Indigenous data governance framework.

4/ 5/ 6/ 7/ 8/ 9/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 1/ 2/ 3/


17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 18 18 18

Virtual Chair
X X X X X X X X X X X X
Meetings

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Listserv message X X X X X X X X X X X X

Workgroup 1:
X X X X X X X X X X X
Framework

Workgroup 2:
Research X X X X X X X X X
Collaborations

RDA Plenaries X

Potential Group Members (Include proposed chairs/initial leadership and all members who
have expressed interest):
The International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group co-chairs include
representation from three continents (Europe, North America, Oceana), four countries (Australia,
New Zealand, Sweden, United States) and four disciplines (demography, history, public health,
sociology). The initial IG members expand the discipline to include business administration and
Indigenous studies.

FIRST NAME LAST NAME EMAIL TITLE


Co-chairs
Stephanie
Rainie scrainie@email.arizona.edu Assistant Professor, Public Health
Carroll
Tahu Kukutai tahu.kukutai@waikato.ac.nz Professor, Demography
Maggie Walter Margaret.Walter@utas.edu.au Professor, Sociology
Per Axelsson per.axelsson@umu.se Associate Professor, History
Members
Associate Professor, Māori and
Maui Hudson maui.hudson@waikato.ac.nz
Indigenous Studies
Research Specialist, Native
andrew.martinez@email.arizona
Andrew Martinez Nations Institute, business
.edu
administration
John Taylor tayljo53@gmail.com Emeritus Professor
christopherhorsethief@gmail.co
Christopher Horsethief Ktunaxa First Nation, Canada
m
gphillips@ktunaxa.org
Gwen Phillips Ktunaxa First Nation, Canada