As Indigenous peoples and local communities’ knowledge systems and culturally sensitive information become increasingly digitized, this research project aims to better understand the gap between customary protocols and existing data management practices, in order to develop a toolkit that contributes to better data governance and upholds principles of Indigenous data sovereignty in the context of open-data research.
Current data governance trends increasingly emphasize the need to open access to data, despite growing concerns over data privacy, control and surveillance. Indigenous peoples, with different epistemological traditions for the use and sharing of culturally sensitive information, reinforce the growing concern of people’s ability to exert data sovereignty, especially since they hold specific collective rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Thus, while interest grow on the documentation and use of Indigenous knowledge, current data governance trends do not align well with Indigenous data rights and governance rules. This is the case of most data on Indigenous peoples especially within EU open-data research.
Using the LICCI project as a case study, the Research on Indigenous Data Governance Protocols (RIDaGoP) project aims to contribute to the field of Indigenous Data Sovereignty (IDS) by developing a set of tools to guide the handling of Indigenous knowledge and data in the open while adhering to Indigenous data sovereignty principles (e.g. CARE Principles). The project aims to contribute to the work of leading organizations in the field, including the Global Indigenous Data Alliance, the Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance, Te Kotahi Research Institute, and Local Contexts. The potential of this research is to help reframe how datasets concerning Indigenous peoples are interpreted and managed in EU open research projects and consequently how Indigenous peoples’ knowledge is represented.
This Proof of Concept research grant is funded by the European Research Council and conducted under the LICCI project.
Giualia Holland (research intern)