Opportunities and Challenges to Data Sharing with American Indian Tribal Nations

  • Sean BrunaEmail author


In this chapter I argue that data sharing, new as it is to cultural anthropology, must be carefully considered by researchers and tribes at the conceptual stages of research. In my opinion, sharing all research data with tribes presents an opportunity to decolonize the discipline’s history of exploitative research by challenging disciplinary notions of control, ownership, and management of ethnographic data, not to mention it recognizes and reaffirms the sovereign status of tribes. I provide some useful definitions, provide a brief review of various data, and list the types of data I collected in my most recent research partnership. In doing so, I show the diverse range of data that is collected in research while also foregrounding the ethical methodological concerns of sharing data. Next, I introduce the federal Indian trust relationship and a brief history of exploitative research in Indian country, both of which provide a context for developing data-sharing policies. In the final section, I provide a list of questions tribes and researchers may wish to consider as they discuss and negotiate data-sharing agreements.


Ysleta del Sur Pueblo El Paso Texas Diabetes Tribes Pueblo Trust relationship National Institutes of Health Health policy Decolonization Community-based participatory research (CBPR) Mistrust Data-sharing guidelines Data archive Data enclave 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWestern Washington UniversityBellinghamUSA

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