#DataBack: Asserting and supporting Indigenous data sovereignty.
An eBook for Indigenous-focused organizations and governments who want to transform data governance through advanced tools, principles and practices.
What is Indigenous Data Sovereignty?
Data are essentially information. Indigenous data are information about Indigenous peoples. Our communities, our cultures, our lands, our histories, our lives. Indigenous data sovereignty then is the inherent right of our nations to govern the collection, ownership and use of our data. Simple right?
But how does that actually work in practice? And why is it important to the well-being and future of Indigenous peoples? That’s what this eBook explores deeply.
Inspired by the Red Paper reports Land Back and Cash Back authored by the Yellowhead Institute, #DataBack positions that data sovereignty is essential to Indigenous sovereignty. Data are not just inert information, data are the essence of understanding our relations. Data are necessary to inform our policies, make better decisions, and ensure a better future for the next generations.
Our data are also valuable to colonial entities. Indigenous data are necessary for resource extraction companies to steal from our lands. They are necessary for researchers to steal from our knowledge base. They are necessary for state governments to support and advance all these colonial projects that are based on theft, dispossession, assimilation, and genocide.
Like Land Back and Cash Back, #DataBack is about recognition, restitution, and reclamation of our data and data systems.
Niiwin: Decolonizing Digital
At Animikii, we are deep in the process of developing our own product that can support Indigenous data sovereignty called Niiwin. Even though we are a team of software developers, this is a journey that has much higher ambitions than simply selling software solutions to a market.
We are building a tool that embeds Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and seeing into the very code that we hope will one day serve the advancement of Indigenous social well-being. This is no simple task. This eBook pulls back the curtain on the challenges and opportunities we’ve encountered along this path.
Our company mission is to use the power of technology to advance Indigenous social wellbeing. In honour of the Seven Grandfather Teachings which serve as our company values, we wanted to produce an eBook that deepens engagement and understanding of data sovereignty in communities.