Workshop 2022 emerged from the 2021 Workshop participant feedback and our continued efforts to engage in constructive conversations with social sciences researchers and stakeholders with regard to the collection, management, and storage of social sciences research data in Indigenous community-based research.
What we wanted to ask are the roles and responsibilities of social sciences researchers when working with Indigenous peoples and/or in Indigenous communities. Moving from a more theoretical approach in 2021 to application in the following year, the 2022 workshop highlighted current Indigenous data sovereignty (IDSov) initiatives and challenges. In 2022, we sought out speakers who were actively engaged in Indigenous data management processes. With their respective team’s deep engagement in the issues of IDSov, Professor Celia Haig-Brown’s Listen to the Land team and members of the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute agreed to be the speakers for the 2022 workshop.
The workshop opened with guest knowledge keeper Amy Desjarlais. Following Amy’s opening, the Listen to the Land group’s discussed each member’s role in the collection, management, and circulation/access to the research materials collected for the film. Celia Haig-Brown is the principal researcher/filmmaker, Loretta Robinson is a Naskapi Cree educator who is deeply committed to ensuring that the recordings can be accessed in perpetuity by the Naskapi people, Anna St.Onge is the team’s archivist, and Heather Bergen is a graduate student research assistant to the project. Members of the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute, based in Oujé-Bougoumou, Quebec, followed with a discussion of the current archiving practices at the Institute and some of their challenges. Speakers included Annie Bosum, Chanelle Fabbri, Rob Imrie, and Kory Saganash.
Questions for Breakout Discussions:
- What is the relationship between community-based research and Indigenous data sovereignty – what does that relationship look like/mean to you?
- If you were to write a proposal to work with a community, what would you include to support IDSov and what do you envision as your commitment to IDSov after the data is collected? (What are you doing as/for communities, bringing forward in terms of sustaining the relationships (pre- and post-research) between researcher, the community, the research data.)
The final full group discussion focused on ways to advance the ideas brought forward during the workshop to formulate practices that can be put in place to ensure substantive advancement in Indigenous data sovereignty. Suggestions included:
- Greater emphasis on relationship building and maintenance after the research is completed to ensure a strong and productive connection with the community.
- Support in navigating how to manage Indigenous data sovereignty in smaller communities regarding storage, access, and future use.
- The creation of an information network addressing issues in Indigenous data sovereignty.
- Establishing partnerships with those in the technology field to develop information technology (IT) systems to support Indigenous data sovereignty through digitization as well as additional categorization and labeling systems (e.g., metadata, etc.).
- Informing/working with researchers outside the social sciences will bring in different perspectives and new challenges to Indigenous data sovereignty; specifically in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines as they will benefit from more education and access to information on Indigenous data sovereignty.
- Consider limiting the use of the term data and replacing it with words like stories that shift our thinking about the research from material collected to sharing of knowledge and the substantive considerations that emerge.
Closing the group discussion and the workshop knowledge keeper Amy Desjarlais articulated the importance of relationship building and sustaining those connections. She reiterated the importance of acknowledging knowledge transmission in Indigenous communities, and the importance of the work for advancing Indigenous data sovereignty, data digitization, the stories, and the stewardship of this knowledge so that it is preserved. She also noted how these dialogues and engagement in Indigenous data sovereignty is necessary for encouraging truth and reconciliation, decolonizing academia, and contributing to growth (Desjarlais, 2022).