Indigenous Data Sovereignty

LAW 631P | 1 credit


8 a.m. to 12:20 p.m., Jan. 19 to 21, 2023

Desi Small-Rodriguez, PhD

The demand for Indigenous data is increasing in Indian Country as tribes engage in economic, social, and cultural development on a rapid scale. Additionally, tribes seek methods to protect their cultural and proprietary information. This course will examine the role of Indigenous data as an exercise of sovereignty in Indigenous governance and self-determination. It will dually explore data collected internally by tribes and Native communities, and information collected by external sources.

The course draws from best practices in Indian Country and across international Indigenous communities. With a focus on both scholarship and tangible data practice, students will receive hands-on training facilitating the pragmatic use of Indigenous data to build strong evidence bases for tribal governments, nations and communities.

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand what terms such as “Indigenous data sovereignty” and “data governance” mean, and recognize the implications of such terms—both for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, communities, nations, and institutions;
  • Describe how Indigenous data sovereignty and data governance link to nation rebuilding; and
  • Realize how data that Indigenous peoples and nations collect, analyze, and use may be different from mainstream data and the importance of leveraging existing data to support Indigenous aspirations for collective well-being.


Desi Small-Rodriguez