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Research Data Management: Indigenous Data Governance & Sovereignty

Indigenous Data Sovereignty

Indigenous data sovereignty refers to the right of Indigenous peoples to control data from and about their communities and lands, articulating both individual and collective rights to data access and to privacy (from Indigenous Data Sovereignty).

Indigenous Data Resources

Indigitization Toolkit 

  • A guide on how to manage digital information using Indigenous perspectives

First Nations Principles of OCAP

  • Guiding principles for how First Nations data should be governed, managed, and preserved in the context of research

CARE Principles of Indigenous Data Governance

  • Principles of data governance from the Global Indigenous Data Alliance, designed to support Indigenous data sovereignty and complement existing FAIR principles

Managing Sensitive Data

  • A guide on how to responsibly manage sensitive data

OCAP® Ownership, Control Access, Possession

The First Nations principles of OCAP® indicate how First Nations' data will be collected, protected, used, and shared. It is a set of principles designed to protect First Nations' ownership and jurisdiction over their information and data.

Ownership: The relationship of First Nations to their cultural knowledge, data, and information. A community or group owns information collectively in the same way that an individual owns his or her personal information.

Control: First Nations, their communities, and representative bodies are within their rights in seeking control over all aspects of the research and information management processes that impact them. Can include all stages of a particular research project from start to finish. The principle extends to the control of resources and review processes, the planning process, management of the information and so on.

Access: First Nations must have access to information and data about themselves and their communities regardless of where it is held. This also refers to the right of First Nations' communities and organizations to manage and make decisions regarding access to their collective information.

Possession: The physical control of data. Possession is the mechanism by which ownership can be asserted and protected.

CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance

The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance guide appropriate use and reuse of Indigenous data. This set of principles indicates the significant and crucial role of data in advancing Indigenous innovation and self-determination.

Collective benefit: Data ecosystems should be designed and function in ways that enable Indigenous Peoples to derive benefit from the data.

Authority to control: Indigenous Peoples' rights and interests in Indigenous data must be recognized and their authority to control such data should be empowered. Indigenous data governance enables Indigenous Peoples to determine how they are represented within data.

Responsibility: Those working with Indigenous data have a responsibility to share how this data is used to support Indigenous Peoples' self-determination and collective benefit.

Ethics: Indigenous Peoples' rights and wellbeing should be the primary concern at all stages of the data life cycle.

Indigenous Data and the Tri-Agency

Canada's Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy affirms that data related to research by and with First Nations, Métis, or Inuit must be managed in accordance with principles developed and/or approved by these communities. Data management plans (DMPs) should recognize Indigenous data sovereignty and include options for renegotiation of the DMP. 

Featured Resources