Indigenous Data Sovereignty


On 2 November the IJC held a Forum on Indigenous Data Sovereignty and had the privilege to hear from the following speakers. 

The recording of Session One can be viewed here.

Bobby Maher (Yamatji woman, with ancestral links to the Kimberley, Pilbara and Noongar Nations), a PhD candidate and Research Associate at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University; and a member of the Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective and the Global Indigenous Data Alliance (GIDA), provides an overview of the origins of Indigenous Data Sovereignty (IDS) and Governance( IDG), the establishment and role of Maiam nayri Wingara in developing the founding principles and the application of these through self-governance and self-determination.

Key notes of the presentation include:

  • Understanding the concepts of Data for Governance and Governance for Data.
  • Identifying what IDS is and is not.
  • The establishment and application of the five (5) key principles.
  • The need and process of change and current developments under Priority Reform 4 of Closing the Gap.

Maiam nayri Wingara has provided the following resources for your reference Indigenous Data Sovereignty Data for Governance: Governance of Data1 Briefing Paper: 20182 and Indigenous Data Sovereignty in the Era of Big Data and Open Data

Skye Trudgett (Gamilaroi woman, living on Awabakal country), a PhD candidate specialising in the design and implementation of First Nations Data Sovereignty in practice is the CEO of Kowa Collaboration and a member of the Maiam nayri Wingara Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective. Skye provides information on the practical application of IDS and IDG.

Key notes of the presentation include:

  • How to operationalise IDS.
  • Establishing Frameworks and Evaluation processes.
  • What to consider.


The recording of Session Two can be viewed here.

Shariff Deen (Bama man from FNQ, living on Gumbaynngirr country), is a co-ordinator at the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and Secretariat of the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peaks, who are leading Priority Reform 4 of Closing the Gap in NSW through the Western Sydney Data Project. Sharif provides an overview of this work and processes being undertaken to meet this important outcome.

Key notes of the presentation include:

  • Background and implementation of Priority Reform 4 through the Community Data Projects.
  • The importance of self-determination, a community focus and informed shared decision making.
  • The aim and facilitation of the Community Data Projects.
  • Familiarising and understanding the Closing the Gap reforms.

Ian Brown (Gamilaroi man living on Awakabal country) and Maelona Stephens (Yuin woman living on country), Ian and Maelona are members of the Ngaramanala Aboriginal Knowledge Program, a project within NSW Communities and Justice to develop culturally safe research and ethics framework, that is designed for research involving Aboriginal children and families. Ian and Maelona provide an overview of the project and the practical application of IDS and IDG within the framework.

Key notes of the presentation include:

  • The aims of the program, important steps to take and the foundations applied.
  • The importance of interpretation and how this is central to changing the deficit narrative.
  • The application of IDS and IDG within Government priorities.
  • Case Study: The Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study (POCLS) and the OOHC Aboriginal Evidence Base
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