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Opportunities and Challenges to Data Sharing with American Indian Tribal Nations

Abstract

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.

Keywords

  • 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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Notes

  1. 1.

    The War Captain is the highest religious officiant and provides spiritual and religious guidance to the tribe.

  2. 2.

    I consider the institutional home of researchers to be the most salient factor and not their identity. For example, a researcher may be Indigenous, but if they are based in an academic or professional institution I view them as having a potentially different interest when compared to a tribe.

  3. 3.

    This suggestion pertains to all social science researchers, not just anthropologists.

  4. 4.

    For an exceptional review of methodologies used in anthropology, see Bernard and Gravlee (2015).

  5. 5.

    In this chapter I consider data sharing broadly and do not discuss “data harmonization,” a common form of data sharing for pragmatic trials; see, for example, O’Rourke et al. (2015).

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Bruna, S. (2020). Opportunities and Challenges to Data Sharing with American Indian Tribal Nations. In: Crowder, J., Fortun, M., Besara, R., Poirier, L. (eds) Anthropological Data in the Digital Age. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24925-0_6

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