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Title:Supporting Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Improving Housing Outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Populations
Author(s):Lewington, Frankie
Contributor(s):Greenlee, Andrew
Indigenous people
data sovereignty
Geographic Coverage:United States
Abstract:Historically and contemporarily, American Indian and Alaska Native people have been one of the most difficult populations to enumerate. While these challenges have induced significant consequences on a variety of fronts for AIAN populations, housing has been uniquely impacted. Due to a number of factors, Indigenous people collectively and continually face some of the worst housing outcomes of any population in the country. One of the factors contributing to these outcomes is the lack of reliable data, such as inaccurate population counts impacting funding allocations for housing programs to the sparse collection of data to inform housing conditions for smaller tribes. The following report argues that for housing conditions to improve for Indigenous people across the country, they need to fully exercise their sovereignty and inherent rights to self-determination. Specifically, they need to exercise their data sovereignty — having unilateral control over how data is collected, who collects it, who owns it, and who uses it. This report will make the argument that Indigenous Data Sovereignty must be realized for AIAN populations to arrive at and implement solutions that address their housing challenges, absent input or direction from non-Indigenous actors. Section I of this report provides a high-level overview of the early contours shaping the relationship between the United States and Indigenous people, as well as the legal principles that provide the foundation for this relationship. Section II provides a brief overview of the federal government’s role in housing intervention in Indian Country, and how recently, Native Americans have been able to exercise their sovereignty and influence legislation that directly impacts their communities. Section III will provide a historical overview of AIAN populations’ enumeration experiences with the U.S. Census and how those past experiences still impact outcomes today. Section IV highlights the challenges and barriers facing AIAN populations with current data collection methodologies and how those influence current housing conditions. Section V provides domestic and international examples of Indigenous peoples exercising their data sovereignty and how those efforts have led to better overall outcomes for their communities. Finally, Section VI offers short-term and long-term recommendations that aim to support tribes simultaneously exercising their data sovereignty while improving data on housing conditions and needs.
Issue Date:2021
Series/Report:MUP Capstone
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-29

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