Making Open Data Work for Indigenous Nations and Peoples

Indigenous Open Data Summit Speakers
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

On October 5, 2016 the Native Nations Institute and the USIDSN hosted the first annual Indigenous Open Data Summit in Madrid, Spain. The Summit gathered academics and researchers from around the globe to present and discuss their work in the area of Indigenous data sovereignty. Of the sixteen invited speakers, twelve were Indigenous people who spoke about the work that they were doing in partnership within their home communities and their local and state governments. Presentation topics ranged from how open data can be used to increase accountability in governments, in mapping Indigenous populations and subaquatic sacred sites, for citizen engagement and capacity building, and in applying traditional knowledge to reframe research methodologies. The summit outcome included a statement that the International Open Data Charter must include Indigenous peoples and nations in its preamble. The Summit presentations will be available soon.

At the 2016 International Open Data Conference, NNI associate director and USIDSN co-founder Stephanie Carroll Rainie moderated the Indigenous + Data session on October 6. Te Mana Raraunga – Māori Data Sovereignty Network members Tahu Kukutai, Kirikowhai Mikaere, Andrew Sporle, and James Hudson, as well as Ji-Ping Li, a researcher from Taiwan joined Stephanie as presenters. Stephanie’s presentation developed the argument and provided evidence for including Indigenous peoples in the International Open Data Charter. During the session discussion period, audience questions focused on how the open data movement is affecting Indigenous peoples' worldwide. The panel responses emphasized the need for the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in the open data movement as partners to allow for consent or non-consent surrounding the release of datasets on their populations, continued development of self-determination initiatives, and for the protection of tribal sovereignty.

Following the International Open Data Conference, Andrew Martinez, NNI research specialist, traveled to Bilbao, Spain with members of the Te Mana Raraunga – Māori Data Sovereignty Network. The group facilitated a workshop for international students and faculty at the University of Basque Country. Andrew's presentation focused on the development of the US Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network, highlighting the networks progress since its inceptions in April 2016, NNI Indigenous data sovereignty and governance projects, and future directions. He also provided the students with a complementary perspective of the historical impacts of federal Indian policy during the presentations by the Maori speakers. The combination of the US and New Zealand perspectives gave the students a better understanding of what Indigenous communities in their countries are capable of, understanding that both movements are taking a bottom up approach. The students continued the discussion amongst themselves following the close of our session and in class the next day.