Dr. Cheryl Ellenwood, IREACH scholar, on Indigenous data sovereignty

Published 04/21/2021

by Susan McLaughlin

Dr. Cheryl Ellenwood, a Scholarly Assistant Professor in IREACH and WSU’s Center for Native American Research and Collaboration, was featured in an interview about Indigenous data sovereignty – the right of Indigenous peoples to control the collection, ownership, and use of their own data. The concept has arisen in response to the long history of disrespectful and exploitative research practices carried out in Indigenous communities. Examples range from the unauthorized and culturally inappropriate use of biospecimens, such as DNA samples, collected from Indigenous individuals, to the absence of Indigenous voices, perspectives, and leadership in research projects. These and other such actions discount Indigenous peoples, viewpoints, and knowledge systems and “reflect longstanding lack of knowledge about and refusal to acknowledge tribal sovereignty,” said Dr. Ellenwood, who is a citizen of the Nez Perce Nation.

Also featured in the interview is Dr. Raymond Foxworth, citizen of the Navajo Nation and Vice President at the First Nations Development Institute. He and Dr. Ellenwood collaborated on a paper, currently under review, titled “Indigenous Peoples and Third Sector Research: Indigenous Data Sovereignty as a Framework to Combat Oppressive Research Practices.”

The interview with Drs. Ellenwood and Foxworth was conducted on behalf of GrantStation, an online service that that provides information and mentoring about grant funding opportunities to the nonprofit sector, in partnership with the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

Read the interview here.