Indigenous Data Sovereignty

Indigenous Data Sovereignty

Toward an agenda

Edited by: Tahu Kukutai, John Taylor

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As the global ‘data revolution’ accelerates, how can the data rights and interests of indigenous peoples be secured? Premised on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, this book argues that indigenous peoples have inherent and inalienable rights relating to the collection, ownership and application of data about them, and about their lifeways and territories. As the first book to focus on indigenous data sovereignty, it asks: what does data sovereignty mean for indigenous peoples, and how is it being used in their pursuit of self-determination? 

The varied group of mostly indigenous contributors theorise and conceptualise this fast-emerging field and present case studies that illustrate the challenges and opportunities involved. These range from indigenous communities grappling with issues of identity, governance and development, to national governments and NGOs seeking to formulate a response to indigenous demands for data ownership. While the book is focused on the CANZUS states of Canada, Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and the United States, much of the content and discussion will be of interest and practical value to a broader global audience.

‘A debate-shaping book … it speaks to a fast-emerging field; it has a lot of important things to say; and the timing is right.’ 
— Stephen Cornell, Professor of Sociology and Faculty Chair of the Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona

‘The effort … in this book to theorise and conceptualise data sovereignty and its links to the realisation of the rights of indigenous peoples is pioneering and laudable.’ 
— Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Baguio City, Philippines


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Nov 2016
CAEPR Research Monograph No. 38
ANU Press
Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)
Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)
Social Sciences: Indigenous Studies, Statistics & Operational Research
Australia; North America: Canada, United States; Pacific: New Zealand

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Indigenous Data Sovereignty »

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  1. Data sovereignty for indigenous peoples: current practice and future needs (PDF, 0.2MB)Tahu Kukutai and John Taylor doi

Part 1: Decolonising indigenous data

  1. Data and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PDF, 0.1MB)Megan Davis doi
  2. What does data sovereignty imply: what does it look like? (PDF, 0.2MB)C Matthew Snipp doi
  3. Colonialism’s and postcolonialism’s fellow traveller: the collection, use and misuse of data on indigenous people (PDF, 0.2MB)Ian Pool doi

Part 2: Critiques of official statistics

  1. Data politics and Indigenous representation in Australian statistics (PDF, 0.2MB)Maggie Walter doi
  2. Indigenising demographic categories: a prolegomenon to indigenous data sovereignty (PDF, 0.1MB)Frances Morphy doi
  3. Governing data and data for governance: the everyday practice of Indigenous sovereignty (PDF, 0.2MB)Diane E Smith doi

Part 3: Data sovereignty in practice

  1. Pathways to First Nations’ data and information sovereignty (PDF, 0.2MB)First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) doi
  2. Tribal data sovereignty: Whakatōhea rights and interests (PDF, 0.2MB)Maui Hudson, Dickie Farrar and Lesley McLean doi
  3. The world’s most liveable city—for Māori: data advocacy and Māori wellbeing in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) (PDF, 0.4MB)James Hudson doi
  4. Indigenous data sovereignty: a Māori health perspective (PDF, 0.7MB)Rawiri Jansen doi
  5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community wellbeing: identified needs for statistical capacity (PDF, 0.2MB)Ray Lovett doi
  6. Data sovereignty for the Yawuru in Western Australia (PDF, 0.2MB)Mandy Yap and Eunice Yu doi
  7. Building a data revolution in Indian country (PDF, 0.2MB)Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear doi

Part 4: State agency responses

  1. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enumeration and engagement strategies: challenges and future options (PDF, 0.2MB)Paul Jelfs doi
  2. Indigenous peoples and the official statistics system in Aotearoa/New Zealand (PDF, 0.2MB) – Darin Bishop doi

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