Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Governance

Concerned by the current state of the data available for tribal and community decision making--including census, health, social services, and environment--and by Native nation’s limited control over their data, NNI researchers and a network of colleagues and collaborators are addressing the need for tribes to drive their data agendas through practicing Indigenous data sovereignty and governing their information. Indigenous data sovereignty is the right of a nation to govern the collection, ownership, and application of its own data. It derives from tribes' inherent right to govern their peoples, lands, and resources.

A newly established network is committed to access, utility, relevance, and protection of Indigenous data in the United States.



The US Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network (USIDSN) seeks to link American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian data users, tribal leaders, information and communication technology providers, researchers, policymakers and planners, businesses, service providers, and community advocates together to share stories about data initiatives, successes, and challenges, and resources. The Network does this through a web site that collates and links to Indigenous data initiatives and written, audio, and visual resources on Indigenous data sovereignty and data governance. In addition, new additions to the Indigenous data initiatives and resources pages as well as upcoming related events related to Indigenous data sovereignty are shared via a monthly email to the Network's listserv. Network members need not be American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian, so long as they are interested in furthering the aims of Indigenous data sovereignty in the US.

Webcast Recordings:

Indigenous Data Sovereignty Summit 2019. Arizona State University. April 24, 2019. Tempe, Arizona.

International Open Data Conference IODC2016. October 5, 2016. Madrid, Spain:

Indigenous Open Data Summit: PART I.

Indigenous Open Data Summit: PART II.

Indigenous Open Data Summit: PART III.

Data + Indigenous Impact Panel.

Book Chapters:

Rainie, S., Kukutai, T., Walter, M., Figueroa-Rodriguez, O., Walker, J., & Axelsson, P. (2019) Issues in Open Data - Indigenous Data Sovereignty. In T. Davies, S. Walker, M. Rubinstein, & F. Perini (Eds.), The State of Open Data: Histories and Horizons. Cape Town and Ottawa: African Minds and International Development Research Centre.

Lovett, Ray, Vanessa Lee, Tahu Kukutai, Stephanie Carroll Rainie, Jennifer Walker. “Good Data Practices for Indigenous Data Sovereignty,” in Angela Daly, Kate Devitt, & Monique Mann (Eds.), Good Data, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures Inc. ISBN 978-94-92302-27-4.

Rodriguez-Lonebear, Desi. 2016. "Building a Data Revolution in Indian Country." In Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an Agenda, edited by Tahu Kukutai and John Taylor, 253-272. Australia: Australian National University Press.

Policy Briefs:

Rainie, Stephanie Carroll, Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, and Andrew Martinez. 2017. Policy Brief: Indigenous Data Sovereignty in the United States Tucson: Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona.

Rainie, Stephanie Carroll, Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, and Andrew Martinez. 2017. Policy Brief: Data Governance for Native Nation Rebuilding (Version 2) Tucson: Native Nations Institute.

To learn more about NNI’s work in this area, please contact:
Stephanie Russo Carroll
NNI Associate Director and Manager, Tribal Health Program

Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear
NNI Graduate Research Associate

Andrew Martinez
NNI Research Specialist

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