iNative Research Group

Supporting Indigenous Empowerment

The iNative research group at the University of Washington Information School (iSchool) is composed of Native American and Alaska Native scholars, information professionals, and students concerned with addressing the information challenges faced by Native nations.

The iNative research group was established in response to the iSchool’s strategic focus on Native North American Indigenous Knowledge (NNAIK). Established in 2018, iNative is the next iteration of the Indigenous Information Research Group (IIRG), which was founded by Professor Cheryl Metoyer in 2009.

With an emphasis on Native American and Alaska Native populations, the iNative research group seeks to raise the level of discourse concerning information and Native American communities through an Indigenous knowledge lens and with a focus on social justice. Working as co-creators, members of iNative analyze the institutions, community practices, philosophies and policies around knowledge, information, and technology in support of tribal sovereignty and Indigenous empowerment.

The information challenges faced by Native American and Alaska Native tribal nations are a microcosm of the information issues plaguing the United States government. Moreover, access, control, preservation, curation, information security, and principals of data science are of vital importance to tribal communities because they impact tribal sovereignty.

Tribal nations exist in a rapidly changing landscape, which is defined by dynamic technology and policy developments. Consequently, a viable and vigorous information policy is critical for effective decision-making. Tribes have an ethical, fiscal, and political responsibility to protect and control tribal information.