Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Enduring Aspirations in a Digital Age

Project commenced:

We have identified a set of questions relating to indigenous data governance, ownership and access, along with potential solutions for benefit sharing and value generation.

What are the key challenges to realising indigenous data sovereignty and how might they be addressed?

What are the key mechanisms needed to realise indigenous data sovereignty at global, national and local scales?

What is the transformative potential of indigenous data sovereignty for Māori?

What can we learn from ‘best practice’ examples of indigenous data sovereignty that already exist? 

Working in partnership with local and international stakeholders, this project will develop a world-leading interdisciplinary research platform in the emerging field of indigenous data sovereignty (IDS). IDS is about the rights and interests of indigenous peoples in relation to data about themselves, their territories, conditions and ways of life. Such data includes genetic information, linked ‘mega’ datasets, digitised health records, and data on land and other natural resources. IDS is becoming increasingly relevant as a topic of concern and interest as cloud-based storage and data sharing become an integral part of institutional practices from businesses to Iwi organisations, academic institutions and government agencies (Hudson et al. in press; Kukutai & Taylor in press; Taylor & Kukutai 2015). As the global ‘data revolution’ accelerates, and governments and commercial entities seek to extract ‘value’ from data, we focus on how the data rights and interests of indigenous peoples can be secured and advanced.

Our project explores critical questions relating to indigenous data governance, ownership and access, and potential solutions for benefit sharing and value generation. For example, what are the key challenges to realising indigenous data sovereignty and how might they be addressed? What can we learn from ‘best practice’ examples of indigenous data sovereignty in different national contexts? What is the transformative potential of indigenous data sovereignty for Māori?

Our kaupapa Māori approach has three parts. The first phase explores, through hui and interviews with IDS stakeholders in Aotearoa/NZ and overseas, key issues and priorities for a IDS research agenda. This will frame phase two, a comprehensive literature review of the challenges and best practice examples in relation to IDS. The literature review will provide a foundation for phase three, which comprises hosting an international ‘IDS - what works’ workshop, and mapping the key objectives for an interdisciplinary research programme targeting the MBIE Endeavour Fund.  

COPYRIGHT © 2021 NGĀ PAE O TE MĀRAMATANGA, A CENTRE OF RESEARCH EXCELLENCE HOSTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND