Indigenous Data Sovereignty is the key to sovereignty and self-determination. As an organization, we respect the right of Indigenous people to manage their own data. In particular, we would like to bring to your attention the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 92 below:
Action 92 (opens in new tab): We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
- Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
- Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
Even data used with good intention efforts can cause harm to Indigenous people. Use of Indigenous Data must be for and in the interests of Indigenous peoples. This moves beyond avoiding stigmatization and racism into decolonization and reconciliation.
Indigenous people face systemic issues, including racism, discrimination, and bias within institutions (e.g., hospitals and healthcare facilities). These harms are outlined in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2022) (opens a new tab), which is the ethical guidance document for all public research in Canada. Community harm is more likely to occur when OCAP® is not asserted or respected.
Any provider of First Nations data to EA must have collected the data according to the OCAP® principles and have the blessing of all the impacted First Nations communities to share the data with EA. All projects involving the use of First Nations data must abide by the OCAP® principles.
Questions to Ask as a Data Collector
- Is the data being collected First Nations data?
- Was it collected from First Nations members?
- Was it collected on First Nations territories?
- Does it concern First Nations lands and waters?
- Have the First Nations been consulted prior to commencing this research project?
- Do we have First Nations approval to collect this data?
- Will this data be accessible to the First Nations?
- Can this data potentially cause harm to a First Nation?
- Can this data be used to infer or directly identify a specific Indigenous community or Indigenous membership (e.g. language spoken, territory, cultural practice)?
- What policy is in process or can be added or amended to better respect OCAP®?
Questions to Ask as a Data Analyst
- Is this First Nations data and information?
- Was this data collected with the approval and knowledge of the First Nations?
- Is it accessible to First Nations?
- Can this data be used by the First Nations for its benefit?
- Are First Nations being included in the analysis and interpretation of this data?
- Do you know how this data will be used? Is it being shared with other parties?
- Can this analysis potentially harm First Nations?
Questions to Ask for Research/Project Work
- Does the research question address a need identified by the impacted Indigenous community?
- Will it benefit the community to undertake this research?
- Have researchers consulted with the impacted communities and obtained their permission, approval, and/or collaboration to conduct the research project?
All projects involving the use of First Nations data must abide by the OCAP® principles. Training is available from the First Nations Information Governance Centre (opens in new tab) to better understand some of the challenges that Indigenous communities have faced in the past.
What can we do to drive policy and process to respect OCAP®?
- Amend or create data access policies to ensure First Nations data access
- Develop relationships with First Nation as an individual institution
- Co-develop processes with First Nation that respect their assertion of OCAP®
- Create budgets for all data employees to receive OCAP® training
- Create a process to ensure new First Nations data is collected, used, and stored in a way that respects First Nations' assertion of OCAP®
Congratulations! Now you understand the basics of The First Nations Principles of OCAP® and how it applies to using EA data.
Your training objectives were to:
- Understand what the First Nations Principles of OCAP® is.
- Understand how the First Nations Principles of OCAP® applies at EA.