(RIGHT: SCGIS 2018 Panel Discussion about common issues uniting Conservation & Tribal/Traditional GIS)
The SCGIS' 2018 conference theme was "Traditional Ecological Knowledge" and involved a number of current tribal & traditional GIS leaders from around the USA. At our plenary address, by the noted tribal conservation leader Jaime Pinkham, a special discussion was held about the importance and potential for joining conservation GIS as a practice with tribal & traditional GIS as a community. Topics raised ranged from the need for modern GIS skills among tribal youth to the challenges of free access to sensitive data about tribal graves and sacred sites. 2018 was also the occasion for SCGIS to formally certify it's first every tribal member as a GIS trainer, Aaria Dobson-Waitere from the Fort Nicholson Settlement Maori in New Zealand. Few may know that the Maori people have led the world in discussions about the importance of digital data to indigenous people and the need for tribal sovereignty and control over data about their lands and cultures. Their new "Data Sovereignty Network" also began as a meeting of like minds at a workshop.
"The idea for Te Mana Raraunga emerged from a meeting of Māori researchers and practitioners at a workshop hosted by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia on Data Sovereignty for Indigenous Peoples in July 2015. The workshop considered the implications of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) for the collection, ownership and application of data pertaining to indigenous peoples and what these might mean for indigenous peoples’ sovereignty." (quoted Oct 2018 from the Te Mana Raraunga website "history" section) Since then, the Maori Data Sovereignty network has been the inspiration for several other new programs and collaborations about the challenges of tribal data sovereignty.