Honouring Our Truth Digitally  

What is Indigenous Data Sovereignty? 

“Indigenous Data Sovereignty is the ability of Indigenous peoples, communities and Nations to participate, steward, and control data that is created with or about themselves” – The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNRIP). 

Concerns about Indigenous Data Sovereignty drives the relationship between Animikii and Survivors’ Secretariat. This partnership began the pathfinding process to protect Indigenous rights and to ensure the Survivors’ stories, memories, records and other information regarding the 140+ years of operation of the Mohawk Institue is preserved in a factual, truthful and respectful manner.   

The Survivors’ Secretariat welcomed Animikii, an Indigenous-owned technology company, to the Second Annual Survivors Gathering held in June 2023. Animikii works with leading Indigenous-focused organizations to drive positive change for Indigenous Peoples. 

Jeff Ward (CEO) & Jeff Doctor (Impact Strategist) shared their insights on Indigenous Data Sovereignty and engaged Survivors in an open dialogue to seek feedback on how to respectfully honour their process to collect data about Mohawk Institute Survivors. 

The ongoing processes of colonization of Indigenous Peoples and globalization of Western ideas, values, and lifestyles has resulted in a loss of information and the suppression of Indigenous history, knowledge and traditions. 

The term sovereignty refers to the fact that Indigenous Nations are sovereign in their governance and that extends to their data and knowledge as well. #DataBack 

The #DataBack movement is much like the existing #LandBack and #CashBack movements, #DataBack is the rallying cry for taking back what rightfully belongs to Indigenous peoples. 

Software development began during summer of 2023. The Mohawk Institue Residential School Community Archive prototype should be available by winter of 2023/24 for initial feedback. The primary audience will be the Mohawk Institue Survivors, their families and their communities who have the right to view associated records. 

“Think of Animikii database as the house that all the memories will be kept and the house where the Secretariat has great people making sure that those memories are held sacred and remain a part of the communities”. – Laura Arndt, Survivors’ Secretariat. 

Animikii’s company values are rooted in Indigenous knowledge, the 7 Grandfather teachings from Anishinaabe culture; Humility, Truth, Honesty, Wisdom, Respect, Courage and Love. Core values and traditional knowledge are the foundation on which Indigenous Nations were built. The company hopes to link together related records to better follow the stories of the Survivors’ and reduce barriers to investigations, providing a safe space for private and sensitive data to be stored indefinitely.