On September 13, 2016 the Department of Interior hosted a workshop entitled “American Indian and Alaska Native Data”. Workshop attendants were drawn from US Federal agencies that collect, create and disseminate data relating to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The day-long workshop contained three panel sessions that focused on tribal perspectives on Federal AIAN data, US Federal Agency needs and obstacles, and academic and other researchers’ perspectives on Federal data.
The workshop brought together multiple stake holders in a single setting and helped to facilitate discussions about data collection practices, priorities and obstacles. Representatives from NCAI (Malia Villegas, Director of NCAI Policy Research Center) discussed the long-standing efforts of their organization to encourage the accurate and timely collection of data for AIAN to inform policy-making activities. Federal officials discussed the various types of data that they collect and some of their success stories in this area. The third session focused on how existing data can be utilized for the benefit of tribal decision-making and program evaluation. Richard Todd (Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis) discussed research efforts using the Longitudinal Business Database to identify business establishments located on American Indian reservations and in adjacent counties. Randall Akee (UCLA, Public Policy and American Indian Studies) discussed on-going research which has identified income inequality for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders as well as income mobility for these small populations. The workshop concluded with a facilitated discussion of priorities and topics for further workshops and symposia.
Written by USIDSN Advisory Council Member Randy Akee