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Principles for Research and Data Use

Approach, accessibility, and governance

CICD research approach

In keeping with our mission to advance the economic self-determination and prosperity of Native nations and Indigenous communities through actionable data and research that make substantial contributions to public policy, the Center for Indian Country Development (CICD) conducts research to deepen understanding of factors that influence the economic health of tribal communities. CICD research focuses on policy areas identified as important for empowering tribal nations and Indigenous people with the resources to determine their economic future on their own terms.

Research priorities are informed by the needs and experiences of Indian Country stakeholders through consultation with the CICD Leadership Council, Native-led organizations, community members, and tribal leaders. CICD and Indian Country partners leverage research to advance policy dialogue that supports the long-term economic prosperity of Indian Country.

CICD works in close partnership with tribal governments, tribal organizations, practitioners, researchers, and policymakers. Through trusting collaborations, research becomes a stronger tool for informing economic policy to strengthen economic prosperity for tribal nations and Indigenous people.

Data accessibility and governance

CICD believes that high-quality data and analysis are fundamental to making informed decisions. CICD recognizes that long-standing data gaps have resulted in an incomplete and sometimes inaccurate understanding of tribal communities and their economies. Investments in economic and demographic data collection and analysis can empower tribes to exercise greater economic self-determination.

CICD believes that governance of Indian Country data by tribal governments and Indigenous individuals is a fundamental element of sovereignty. CICD also understands the importance of making data that are useful for decision-making accessible to the public while balancing the varied data-usage preferences of tribal governments and tribal members.

Tribes have long used data as a tool for supporting economic and community well-being. CICD hopes to strengthen this tradition as data increasingly become necessary for advancing policy decisions in Indian Country, the United States, and globally.

Research and data principles

CICD recognizes that there are important responsibilities associated with collecting and analyzing data in Indian Country. To ensure tribal data sovereignty and governance are honored in data collection and research, CICD and its partners are guided by the following principles:

Informed and prior consent: In some cases, non-public data will be shared with CICD by tribes, individuals, and federal agencies. Abiding by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis policies governing data privacy and security, CICD works to inform those partners in advance of our intended use of such data as well as any potential risks associated with its use. CICD works to obtain—and takes steps designed to ensure that any of our external research partners obtain—informed consent for data collection from individuals.

Data protection: If proprietary, confidential, or sensitive data are shared with CICD, CICD works to take the necessary actions designed to ensure the data are secured and are accessible only to authorized parties associated with the agreed-upon data analysis or research activities. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis policies provide that data that constitute personally identifiable information receive additional protections.

Data governance: CICD understands that it is the right of tribal nations to govern the collection, ownership, and application of their respective data. CICD uses shared data only for the purposes identified in the applicable research project objectives agreed to with data providers. CICD returns data to the data providers upon completion of the research or at a time agreed upon with the data providers. When appropriate permissions have been obtained, CICD may continue to hold and use data without prespecified time limits.

Prior review of research publication: CICD and its partners conduct research to deepen the collective understanding of tribal economies. For this reason, CICD research and analysis are typically made available to the public. CICD works to ensure that data providers have opportunities to review the research and analysis, provide feedback on it, and confirm that publications using the data are consistent with the original research agreement.

Do no harm: CICD and its research partners take seriously the responsibility to conduct research without harming tribal governments, tribal organizations, and Indigenous people whose experiences we are seeking to understand. CICD takes available steps to ensure research is conducted rigorously, objectively, and in keeping with the research priorities of tribal partners, ultimately facilitating improved economic outcomes for Indigenous people and communities.

The CICD Principles for Research and Data Use are periodically reviewed and updated in conversation with our research partners and the CICD Leadership Council. The principles were last updated in July 2022.