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Indigenous Studies

This guide provides resources related to the interdisciplinary field of Indigenous Studies.


This guide provides OC Library and web resources related to Indigenous data sovereignty as well as search strategies on this and related topics. 

What is Indigenous data sovereignty?

The concept of data sovereignty relates to the "inherent and inalienable rights and interests of indigenous peoples relating to the collection, ownership and application of data about their people, lifeways and territories." (Indigenous Data Sovereignty, p. 2)

"The multifaceted nature of indigenous data sovereignty gives rise to a wide-ranging set of issues, from legal and ethical dimensions around data storage, ownership, access and consent, to intellectual property rights and practical considerations about how data are used in the context of research, policy and practice. Similarly, the scope of the indigenous data ecosystem is vast and includes data generated or held by indigenous communities and organisations, governments, the public sector, international governmental organisations (IGOs), NGOs, research institutions and commercial entities." (Indigenous Data Sovereignty, p. 2)

What is Traditional Knowledge?

"Traditional knowledge (TK) is knowledge, know-how, skills and practices that are developed, sustained and passed on from generation to generation within a community, often forming part of its cultural or spiritual identity." (World Intellectual Property Organization)

What are TK Labels?

"...the Labels allow communities to express local and specific conditions for sharing and engaging in future research and relationships in ways that are consistent with already existing community rules, governance and protocols for using, sharing and circulating knowledge and data." (Local Contexts)

See also: Indigenous Research Methodology guide

Featured Videos

"Kayla Lar-Son, Indigenous Services and Programs Librarian at the University of British Columbia, presents Data as Relation: Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Ethic of Care. Can Indigenous data be seen and treated as a relative? By using the concept of Indigenous relationality, this talk will unpack how when we change our perception of Indigenous data and data ownership, we can become ethical stewards of data, and work towards Indigenous data sovereignty practices." (1 hour)

How Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Biocultural (BC) labels and notices can advance aspirations for Indigenous data sovereignty and Indigenous innovation. (12 minutes)

Finding Resources at OC Library

IMPORTANT: the dominant structure for organizing information is from a western perspective, for this reason you may need to use outdated (sometimes offensive) terminology to find resources related to Indigenous peoples; please contact us if you'd like assistance navigating this.

Combine keywords related to the concept of Indigenous identity with keywords related to your area of interest.

For example:

Indigenous Aboriginal "First Nations"
Inuit Métis "Indians of North America"
Indian Native Name of Nation or Community (e.g. Secwépemc)


"Data Sovereignty" "Data governance" "Traditional Knowledge labels" or "TK labels"
"Data control" "Data security" "Data management"
"Data stewardship" "Research management" Specific research area (e.g. health)

Search Tips:

  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase (e.g. "data sovereignty").
  • Use an asterisk to search for words with the same stem (e.g. sovereign* retrieves sovereign, sovereignty, sovereignties).
  • Terminology changes over time. You many need to search for alternative spellings of a word, for example: Sto:lo, Stó:lô, Staulo, Stahlo or you may need to search for alternate words, for example: Kwakiutl/Kwakwaka'wakw or Nootka/Nuu-chah-nulth

Subject headings are a tool designed to help researchers find similar materials. These are only some examples of the many subject headings that Okanagan College Library uses. Spend a few minutes exploring them when you find a book in the catalogue that supports your research.

Search by Subject Terms

  • Indigenous data sovereignty
  • Indigenous data governance
  • data colonialism
  • research data management
  • data stewardship

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