The Rethinking the Responsibilities of the Social Sciences Researcher in Supporting the Advancement of Indigenous Data Sovereignty (IDSOV) workshop took place virtually on Friday, April 23, 2021.
The workshop began with opening remarks by co-organizers Naomi Adelson and Chris Stephens and an opening ceremony led by guest knowledge keeper Amy Desjarlais. This was followed by keynote presentations by Robyn Rowe and Camille Callison and the first of two breakout discussion sessions. Dr. Jane Anderson and Dr. Māui Hudson then delivered a third keynote presentation, which was followed by the second breakout discussion session and a full group discussion on ways forward. The workshop ended with closing remarks by Amy Desjarlais.
Robyn Rowe’s presentation focused on the fundamentals of Indigenous data sovereignty and the key organizations and principles that have emerged to guide this work, including the Global Indigenous Data Alliance (GIDA) and the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. Rowe emphasized the importance of ensuring Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) in research with Indigenous communities and the need for non-Indigenous researchers to enable Indigenous peoples to lead all research involving them.
Camille Callison discussed the importance of building relationships with Indigenous communities and incorporating Indigenous protocols and ways of knowing into research designs and methodologies. Callison emphasized that Indigenous knowledge is dynamic and that non-Indigenous researchers must build good relationships with the knowledge holders in the communities with whom they seek to work.
Dr. Jane Anderson and Dr. Māui Hudson’s presentation focused on the Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Biocultural (BC) Labels and Notices Initiative as a way to operationalize Indigenous data sovereignty. Anderson and Hudson explained how TK and BC Labels and Notices were developed as a response to gaps in intellectual property law. They described how TK and BC Labels and Notices function and emphasized that the labels and notices provide researchers and cultural heritage institutions with a way to acknowledge Indigenous protocols in the digital realm.
The breakout room sessions allowed participants to engage with the presentations through the lens of a key question that was posed at the beginning of each session. The key questions were:
- Breakout session one: based on your experience with, or your plans for, social sciences research, what would you describe as the most important meaningful change needed to create, as Camille says, the “groundwork for meaningful change moving forward”? What would you consider to be barriers to that change?
- Breakout session two: considering the CARE Principles and the creation of practices such as TK Labels, how can social scientists contribute to “meaningful change”? What, in other words, are the ways forward?
The workshop wrapped up with a full group discussion on ways forward and closing remarks by the co-organizers and guest knowledge keeper Amy Desjarlais.
Many thanks to Thelma Cheechoo for granting the workshop organizers permission to play a recording of one of her live performances as a musical interlude during the workshop.