Indigenous Data Sovereignty

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

In the age of ‘big data’ debates about ‘data sovereignty’ have been dominated by national governments and multinational corporations focused on issues of access and legal jurisdiction. Missing from those conversations has been consideration of the inherent rights and interests of indigenous peoples regarding the collection, ownership and application of data about their people, lifeways and territories. In this seminar I report on new thinking and emerging practice regarding an assertion of ‘indigenous data sovereignty’. Impetus for this arises from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – what are the implications of UNDRIP for the collection, ownership and application of statistics pertaining to indigenous peoples? Implied here is a critique of the demography–policy nexus in nation-state settings - how might the statistical portrayal of indigenous peoples be transformed in ways that better serve the development needs of indigenous polities?

John Taylor is Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a Policy Associate of the Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium (International) based at the University of Western Ontario. He is a population geographer specialising in the demography of indigenous peoples and co-editor (with Tahu Kukutai) of Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an Agenda (ANU Press 2016).