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Midzain-Gobin Liam, PhD Candidate

Research

My doctoral work aims to fill a gap in the literature around data collection and indigenous communities. While much of the work to date has focused on the question of how to get more representative and reliable data, this project seeks to advance an understanding of the effects that data collection has on indigenous communities themselves, and the ways in which it serves to (re)produce settler sovereignty. Drawing on a collaborative, community-based indigenous research methodology, the project looks specifically at issues of representation and subjectivity within the data collection tools, such as the Aboriginal Peoples’ Survey and other Government and corporate surveys.

The project addresses two parallel, and perhaps contradictory, phenomena. That is, data collection can further reinforce settler colonial norms within indigenous communities through practices of epistemic violence, while at the same time also serving as a tool of empowerment for communities, especially when indigenous knowledges are made central in the writing of these tools.