This year’s Special Issue — Volume 12, Issue 3 — compiles the proceedings of the 2023 Symposium, and includes original works of scholarship from several participants in the event:
- Katharina Ruckstuhl, Data is a Toanga: Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori Data Sovereignty and Implications for Protection of Treasures.
- Megan Keenan, Copyright Management Information (CMI) as a Tool to Protect Indigenous Cultural Works.
- Jason Mika, Māui Hudson, & Natalie Kusabs, Indigenous Business Data and Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Challenges and Opportunities.
You may view and download a PDF of the complete issue here.
Despite Indigenous Peoples’ long struggle for sovereignty over their lands, they are often excluded from conversations focused on their “data sovereignty.” In response, the Indigenous Data Sovereignty, or IDSov, movement has emerged to recognize the fundamental rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples relating to the collection, ownership and stewardship of data relating to their communities, knowledge and lands. The multifaceted nature of IDSov gives rise to a broad spectrum of legal and ethical concerns, from data storage, ownership, consent and access, to intellectual property rights and other considerations about how data are used in research, policy and practice.
This year, JIPEL’s Annual Spring Symposium focused on IDSov. The event was held in collaboration with the Equity for Indigenous Research and Innovation Coordinating Hub (ENRICH), co-directed by Jane Anderson (NYU) and Māui Hudson (University of Waikato), and the NYU Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy. The symposium was organized around four panels: IDSov and Tribal Codes (I), Government Agencies and IDSov (II), Labels as a Technical Protection Mechanism (III), and Fair Use and IDSov (IV), and recordings of the event can be found on our website. The symposium was hosted entirely over Zoom between two sessions (I-II; March 1, 2023, III-IV; March 2, 2023, Eastern Standard Time) so as to accommodate speakers from across the globe. The symposium brought together scholars from a diversity of fields and perspectives, including Indigenous community leaders, as well as experts in law, public policy, medicine, global health, human genomics, anthropology, sociology, management and marketing. Following each of the four themed sessions, a roundtable discussion with invited speakers was moderated by a member of the NYU law faculty.
Jacob Golan, Ph.D.
NYU Journal of Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law
Indigenous Data Sovereignty has emerged in recent years as an important contribution to discourse at the intersection of ethics, digital rights, and Cultural Intellectual Property Rights. Data has become the new gold, a frontier for exploration and exploitation. Digitisation initiatives and open data movements are turning Information and knowledge into global resources to be accessed and used by anyone with an internet connection.
Ethical and legal concerns about the open approach to data, its impact on privacy and intellectual property rights, has been exacerbated by Artificial Intelligence platforms, like ChatGPT, which use multiple data sources to construct their outputs without clear provenance or attribution. The appropriation of data is considered a misappropriation of knowledge by many Indigenous communities and contributes to their desire for greater Indigenous control of Indigenous data.
Indigenous Data Sovereignty recognizes the fundamental rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples relating to the collection, ownership and stewardship of data relating to their communities, territories and knowledges. The multifaceted nature of IDSov gives rise to a broad spectrum of legal and ethical concerns spanning data storage, ownership, consent and access, intellectual property rights and other considerations about how Indigneous data are used in research, policy and practice.
Two key themes of the Indigenous Data Sovereignty movement are data for governance and governance of data. By improving Indigenous access to data and Indigenous participation in governance of data Indigenous communities can direct towards informed decision-making and deriving direct benefits from the multiple uses of Indigenous data.
The Indigenous Data Sovereignty Symposium was held by JIPEL in collaboration with the Equity for Indigenous Research and Innovation Co-ordinating Hub in Lenapehoking (New York City). ENRICH was established in 2019 as a collaboration between NYU and the University of Waikato in Aotearoa and was developed to support the development of Indigenous based protocols, Indigenous centered standard setting mechanisms, and machine-focused technology that inform policy and research practices, push for institutional change and reform relationships between Indigenous communities and wider society. ENRICH and the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy (NYU Law) provided a space to explore how Indigenous Data Sovereignty is being expressed across different domains, and this special proceedings brings together insightful contributions from the speakers.
Each paper presented here explores issues that arise in the context of Indigenous Data Sovereignty. These range from the development of Tribal Codes and Policy around data sovereignty from an Indigenous community perspective, to the development of standards for the Provenance of Indigenous Peoples’ Data; to new policy guidance like the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance alongside practical mechanisms like Traditional Knowlege and Biocultural Labels and Notices developed by Local Contexts. Other papers address economic value and benefit sharing as well as how existing legal tools like Technical Protection Mechanisms (TPMs) could be used to serve Indigenous interests in data control and governance.
In recognizing the inherent sovereign rights that Indigenous Peoples hold and should retain over data, the imperative of Indigenous Data Sovereignty connects to other Indigenous rights movements including the return of stolen lands and waters, rematriation of cultural materials within museums, archives and libraries and expectations for fair and equitable benefit sharing in the context of genetic resources.
University of Waikato, Te Kotahi Research Institute, NYU Engelberg Center for Innovation Law and Policy, & ENRICH Co-Director
Stephanie Russo Carroll
University of Arizona, Public Health, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy & The Native Nations Institute
NYU, Anthropology and Museum Studies, Engelberg Center for Innovation Law and Policy, & ENRICH Co-Director