The lack of good data about U.S. American Indian and Alaska Native populations hinders tribes’ development activities, but it also highlights a space for sovereign action. In coming years, tribes will no doubt continue to advocate for better national data and at the same time increasingly implement their own “data agendas” by gathering high quality, culturally relevant information about their communities. With more meaningful data, tribal policymakers can make informed decisions about which policies and programs are right for the task at hand. Strategic data planning empowers tribes to tell their communities’ stories through their own data, and not that of others.


This article originally appeared in the June 3, 2014 issue of Indian Country Today Media Network under the title, " Good Data Leads to Good Sovereignty." Reprinted with permission. It is part of IIPJ's ongoing discussion stemming from the special issue on The Governance of Indigenous Information (see http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol5/iss2).

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