NLAP Collaborates on Special Journal Publication About Tribal Data Sovereignty

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Published in the most recent Environment and Planning F issue, the Native Lands Advocacy Project (NLAP) and leading Indigenous scholars Joseph P. Brewer II, Stephanie Russo Caroll, and Michael Kotutwa Johnson write about tribal data accessibility, equity, and sovereignty in “Life and Times of Data Access: Regarding Native Lands.”

At a time where reliable data are considered paramount to successful projects, initiatives, legal claims, advocacy, and land planning, access to quality and reliable information is particularly problematic regarding Native Lands. Data have been used historically to colonize, commodify, and extract wealth from nature by dispossessing the original stewards of these lands. The steps of this structural oppression have been well hidden, but today, much can be uncovered and reclaimed by enforcing Indigenous Peoples Data and Research Sovereignty.

A Long-Standing Movement Toward Data Sovereignty

The article centers on the multi-faceted relationship between Native Nations and data. History proves that, in the power of an unjust settler system, data have been used to dispossess Native peoples from their homelands and sever invaluable ties with nonhuman communities. At the same time, we also know that data, when under the care of Native Nations, have also led to incredible works of healing and nation re-building.

It is through these considerations that we recognize the need of the hour: in a world where we constantly exceed the limits of technology and data ways, Indigenous communities need to be the ones to control any and all data about themselves and their relations.

This belief is at the heart of our mission here at NLAP: to provide accessible data tools and resources for Native Nations to use at their discretion and for the benefit of their communities. Our contribution is only a shadow of the data sovereignty work being done by Indigenous leaders. We are proud to support these efforts by amplifying the needs and opportunities in the long-standing movement toward complete Indigenous data sovereignty.

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We greatly value your feedback as NLAP builds these resources and narratives with Native Nations in mind.

Written by Raven McMullin

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