top of page

Our company guide to upholding Data Sovereignty

Indigenous communities have a deep connection to their homelands through language, knowledge systems, governance, and ceremonies which is often set out by their unique ways of storytelling. As the custodians of their data, sqilx’w (Indigenous) Peoples assert their right to control, protect, and govern the collection, analysis, and dissemination of their data.


This protocol aims to provide guidance on upholding Indigenous data sovereignty when engaging in storytelling initiatives with Your syilx Sisters.


#DataBack: Indigenous data belongs to Indigenous Peoples

Respect for Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Protocols


Seek Permission and Consent.


Prioritize building genuine, and authentic relationships with Indigenous communities and individuals. Seek permission and obtain informed consent before collecting, sharing, or using Indigenous data in storytelling initiatives.


Engage Elders and Knowledge Keepers and Holders.


Collaborate with community members, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers who hold cultural knowledge and are willing to provide guidance on storytelling protocols and the appropriate use of data. Do this with reciprocity and do not expect you are owed any type of knowledge.


Respect Cultural Protocols.


Understand and adhere to place-specific cultural protocols and ceremonies related to storytelling. Consult with the community to ensure that the use of Indigenous data aligns with their cultural practices and norms.


Ownership and Control of Data


Recognize Indigenous Data Sovereignty.


Acknowledge and respect Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights to control, own, and govern their data. Recognize that Indigenous communities have the authority to determine who has access to their data and how it is used.


Uphold Community Governance and Decision-Making.


Collaborate with Indigenous communities within their place-based governance structures this enables community members to make informed decisions regarding the collection, storage, analysis, and dissemination of their data for storytelling purposes. (Some communities already have data sovereignty laws, and these should be upheld.)


Create Data Sharing Agreements.


Develop formal agreements with Indigenous communities that outline the terms of data sharing, including data ownership, control, access, security, and the intended purpose of its use in storytelling initiatives.


Data Protection and Privacy


Anonymization and De-identification


Prioritize the protection of individual and community privacy by ensuring the anonymization and de-identification of Indigenous data in storytelling initiatives. Use methods that prevent the identification of individuals or communities without their explicit consent.


Secure Data Storage


Safeguard Indigenous data by employing secure storage methods and adhering to best practices in data security. Ensure that data is stored in a manner that respects community values and local laws.


Data Retention and Destruction


Establish protocols for the retention and destruction of Indigenous data, considering community preferences and legal requirements. Respect community decisions regarding the length of data retention and the appropriate disposal methods.


Culturally Appropriate Representation


Authentic Representation


Ensure that Indigenous stories are represented authentically and accurately, respecting the diversity and complexity of Indigenous Nations. Involve Indigenous individuals and communities in the storytelling process to ensure their voices are heard and their perspectives are accurately portrayed. Do not publish anything about a Nation until it has been approved by them.


Informed Consent in Storytelling


Obtain informed consent from individuals and communities when featuring their stories in any form of media or public representation. Clearly communicate the intended purpose and potential impact of the storytelling initiative to the participants.


Ongoing Community Collaboration


Foster ongoing collaboration with Indigenous communities throughout the storytelling process. Seek their feedback, involve them in the editing and approval stages, and provide opportunities for community members to share their insights and contributions.



bottom of page