Support indigenous data sovereignty with technology

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  • Throughout history, data on indigenous communities, cultures, and territories have been collected and compiled through research and surveillance as part of colonization and assimilation processes. Settler colonialism occurs not only in rural areas, but also in academies where the omission of indigenous leadership in data production places indigenous peoples as research subjects.

Limiting the sovereignty of indigenous communities and stripping them of their self-defining rights can help these people through “5D data” (inequality, deprivation, disadvantage, dysfunction and difference, as described by Maggie Walter). failed, producing the deficit-oriented narrative that characterized the community of To meet self-determined data priorities.

The goal of indigenous data sovereignty is to increase the power of indigenous peoples over their data. Western intellectual property laws are set up so that non-Indigenous academics, libraries, archives, and museums can claim authorship and copyright without taking into account the Indigenous communities that actually own the works.

The incapacity to regulate the use, access, and dissemination of indigenous data extends beyond merely indigenous knowledge and includes genetic resources. There are many examples of bad experiences with genetic research, such as the secondary use of genetic information obtained from the Havasupai Tribe without permission by a researcher from Arizona State University, which led to the banning of genetic research by numerous tribes.

The Indigenous Data Sovereignty (IDS) movement has recently made clear that Indigenous Peoples have the right to choose how their data is gathered, accessed, analyzed, interpreted, maintained, shared, and reused. Specific principles that guide data stewardship and governance methods are outlined in The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance (IDG).

In the age of “big data” and “open data,” the power dynamics that define Indigenous data practices are crucial challenges. The Nagoya Protocol should include digital sequence information (DSI) to ensure that the benefits of using biological data, which is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity on a global scale. This discussion is being sparked by technological advancements like whole-genome sequencing (WGS), which contribute to the increased production of high-throughput biological data.

The IDS movement seeks to regain control over both the narrative that can be told using indigenous peoples’ data and the data itself. There has been clarification work done. This involves adherence to other frameworks like the FAIR Principles and global standards for the management of scientific data (eg UNDRIP and the Nagoya Protocol). Indigenous-managed platforms (like the Mukurtu CMS platform), data trustees, traditional knowledge (TK) and biocultural (BC) labels, and governance bodies are further methods for enhancing the administration of indigenous data.

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