Data sovereignty is the right of Indigenous Peoples to exercise ownership over Indigenous Data which can be expressed through the creation, collection, access, analysis, interpretation, management, dissemination and reuse of Indigenous Data.
The Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective relates to a movement that aims to give ownership and control of Indigenous data back to Indigenous peoples. As the website of the Maiam nayri Wingara Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Sovereignty Collective explains:
“Data is a cultural, strategic, and economic asset for Indigenous peoples. Indigenous Australians have always been active in what is now known as ‘data’. Yet in modern times we have been isolated from the language, control and production of data at community, state and national levels. This has resulted in data that are overly focused on Indigenous peoples as the problem. Existing data and data infrastructure does not recognise or privilege our knowledges and worldviews nor meet our current and future needs.”
The Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective key principles were developed at the Indigenous Data Sovereignty Summit held in Canberra, Australia on 20 June 2018.The foundational statements about Data Sovereignty that emerged from this event are:
“In Australia, ‘Indigenous Data’ refers to information or knowledge, in any format or medium, which is about and may affect Indigenous peoples both collectively and individually.
Indigenous Data Sovereignty’ refers to the right of Indigenous peoples to exercise ownership over Indigenous Data. Ownership of data can be expressed through the creation, collection, access, analysis, interpretation, management, dissemination and reuse of Indigenous Data.
Indigenous Data Governance’ refers to the right of Indigenous peoples to autonomously decide what, how and why Indigenous Data are collected, accessed and used. It ensures that data on or about Indigenous peoples reflects our priorities, values, cultures, worldviews and diversity.”
BetterEvaluation has signed on to the data sovereignty network and has adopted data sovereignty principles in the ethical protocol guide.
You can read the full communique from this event, learn more about, and sign on to the Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective principles on the Maiam nayri Wingara website.
We would like to acknowledge and thank Maria Stephens, an Arrabi/Binning woman who speaks the Iwaidja language. She generously provided her artwork for this page.