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Research Data Services

Guidance, tools, and training to support faculty and students working with research data.

Indigenous Data Sovereignty

Research involving First Nations, Inuit, Métis or other Indigenous communities must follow specific considerations and protocols about how research data are managed, which are defined by those communities and respect their sovereignty over their information. 

Support at University of Victoria

The Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Victoria provides resources and support for UVic faculty, students and communities to undertake Indigenous research and related activities that are respectful of local Indigenous knowledge systems and worldviews.

More information about CIRCLE

Principles of Indigenous Data Governance

Various principles exist to guide research data management practices that respect Indigenous data sovereignty. However, interpretations of these principles are specific to the communities involved, which may not necessarily address the distinct needs and values of distinct First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

CARE Principles 

The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance reflect the role of data in advancing Indigenous innovation and self-determination. CARE stands for:

  • Collective Benefit – “Data ecosystems shall be designed and function in ways that enable Indigenous Peoples to derive benefit from the data.”
  • Authority to Control – Indigenous people have the right and authority to control their data.
  • Responsibility – Researchers working with Indigenous Peoples have a responsibility to support Indigenous Peoples rights.
  • Ethics – “Indigenous Peoples’ rights and wellbeing should be the primary concern at all stages of the data life cycle and across the data ecosystem.”

More information about the CARE Principles is available from the Global Indigenous Data Alliance.

The First Nations Principles of OCAP®

The OCAP® Principles of data governance outline how to interact with First Nations data. OCAP® stands for:

  • Ownership – First Nations communities or groups own their data collectively
  • Control – First Nations communities can control all aspects of the research cycle that impact them directly.
  • Access – First Nations retain access to the data, regardless of where it is held.
  • Possession – First Nations retain physical control of the data

OCAP® is a registered trademark of the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC). Certified training in OCAP® is available through the FNIGC's website

Principles of Ethical Métis Research

The following Métis-specific culturally competent ethical research principles are adhered to by the Métis Centre at the National Aboriginal Health Organization in its research, who note for outside groups who choose to use or adapt them that "The principles are not intended to be enforceable rules that must be followed but rather are a well thought out starting point to engage Métis communities in ethical research." (Métis Centre of NAHO, 2018)

  • Reciprocal Relationships: Building relationships between researchers and communities, while sharing responsibility and benefits, and learning from each other
  • Respect For: Individual and collective; autonomy; identity; personal values; gender; confidentiality; practices and protocols
  • Safe and Inclusive Environments: Research should be safe for all - youth & Elders; gender and sexual identity; aboriginality; and balance individual and collective
  • Recognize Diversity: Within and between Métis communities; in worldviews; in values and beliefs; in geographic orientation and in politics
  • Research Should: Be relevant; benefit all; accurate; accountable; responsible; acknowledge contribution; and protect Métis cultural knowledge
  • Métis Context: Understand history, values, and knowledge; advance Métis methodology and include Métis experts; straddle worldviews; and insider-outsider perspective

Source: National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) (2018). Principles of Ethical Métis Research. Retrieved February 08 2023 from 

The Manitoba Metis Federation subscribes to the following "OCAS principles":

  • Ownership: Ownership refers to the legal possession of something
  • Control: Control refers to the power to make decisions about something and decide what should happen
  • Access: Access refers to the right or opportunity to use something that will bring benefits
  • Stewardship: Stewardship speaks to issues of responsible planning and management of resources

Source: University of Manitoba, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences (2019). Framework for Research Engagement with First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Peoples (p.14). [PDF] Retrieved February 08 2023 from 

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) 

The term Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) describes Inuit epistemology or the Indigenous knowledge of the Inuit, which encompasses traditional knowledge, ecological knowledge, and local and community based knowledge. A fact sheet prepared for the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health explores the six guiding principles of IQ and their application to research. 

  • Pijitsirniq (or the concept of serving)
  • Aajiiqatigiingniq (or the concept of consensus decision-making)
  • Pilimmaksarniq (or the concept of skills and knowledge acquisition)
  • Piliriqatigiingniq (or the concept of collaborative relationships or working together for a common purpose)
  • Avatimik Kamattiarniq (or the concept of environmental stewardship)
  • Qanuqtuurunnarniq (or the concept of being resourceful to solve problems)

Source: Shirley Tagalik (2012). Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: The role of Indigenous knowledge in supporting wellness in Inuit communities in Nunavut. [PDF] Retrieved February 08 2023 from

Tri-Agency RDM Policy

Canada's Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy affirms the importance of Indigenous data sovereignty and RDM principles that recognize and respect self-determination for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples through a distinctions-based approach.. Data management plans (DMPs) should recognize Indigenous data sovereignty, indicate how partners have been involved in developing the DMP, and include options for renegotiation of the DMP. 

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