Indigenous Peoples, Data Sovereignty and Self-Determination: Current Realities and Imperatives

Oguamanam, Chidi
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This study explores the current state and dynamics of the global Indigenous data sovereignty movement—the movement pressing for Indigenous peoples to have full control over the collection and governance of data relating to their lived realities. The article outlines the movement’s place within the broader push for Indigenous self-determination; examines its links to big data, open data, intellectual property rights, and access and benefit-sharing; details a pioneering assertion of data sovereignty by Canada’s First Nations; outlines relevant UN and international civil society processes; and examines the nascent movement in Africa. The study identifies a fundamental tension between the objectives of Indigenous data sovereignty and those of the open data movement, which does not directly cater for Indigenous peoples’ full control over their data. The study also identifies the need for African Indigenous peoples to become more fully integrated into the global Indigenous data sovereignty movement.
Oguamanam, C. (2020). Indigenous peoples, data sovereignty, and self-determination: Current realities and imperatives. The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC), 26, 1-20.