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Indigenous Portfolio

For several years, ICES has been working closely with Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) partners to develop unique partnerships that include data governance and data sharing agreements. These partnerships have enabled Indigenous-driven analyses using ICES data. ICES’ ongoing commitment to this work is articulated in our current strategic plan. In October of 2017, ICES formalized an Indigenous Portfolio at ICES with dedicated staff, a scientist network and a scientific lead.

If you are part of a First Nations, Métis or Inuit community or Indigenous organization and have a health-related question, consider submitting an Applied Health Research Question (AHRQ). All eligible AHRQ requests are conducted at no cost to the requester. If you are interested, please fill out a Request Form or contact the Indigenous Portfolio who can assist you in completing the form and navigating this process.

Through this Indigenous Portfolio:

We will support Indigenous-driven use of ICES data.

We will aim to be a trusted partner for Indigenous organizations, scholars and communities in their use of data to promote wellbeing, healing and effective policy.

We will listen to and learn from Indigenous teachings and principles so that we can strive to apply them to our relationships and collaborative projects.

ICES is also committed to building capacity for using data through an ICES Indigenous Internship program for students and Indigenous community members – and we are supporting capacity-building among ICES staff and faculty to meaningfully work with Indigenous partners and Indigenous data.

The figure below depicts an overall framework that is informed by collaboration with the Chiefs of Ontario on work with First Nations data:

Indigenous Data Governance Principles
Ethical Relationships
  • Indigenous research ethics
  • Community engagement
  • Mutual capacity building
Data Governance
  • Formalized data governance and data sharing agreements
  • Privacy legislation
Evidence to Build Policies & Programs
  • Collaborative research projects
  • Service-model, data requests from communities
Methodology & Approaches
  • Indigenous perspectives and models of wellbeing
  • Data gaps/quality
  • Context
  • Linkage and analytics

What are Indigenous Data at ICES?

Through our partnerships, agreements and study of the ethical frameworks outlined in the Resources section below, ICES has interpreted Indigenous data and identifiers as including:


(e.g., Indian Registry System, Métis Citizenship Registry)


(e.g., survey data with identifiers that have been linked at ICES)

Geographic Identifiers
Geographic identifiers

(e.g., postal codes or residence codes on First Nations reserves)

Indigenous-specific data sets

(e.g., survey or health service delivery data)

These may identify, either directly or by proxy, any of the following populations:

  • First Nations, Métis or Inuit communities
  • First Nations, Métis or Inuit people
  • Indigenous (or Aboriginal) people or communities

Governance of Indigenous Data at ICES

Indigenous data governance and engagement is nuanced and complex. In each research project or request for data, there are many things to consider and the landscape is evolving. ICES continues to develop data governance agreements with First Nations, Métis and Inuit partners. These key guiding agreements and supporting processes are respected for each project.

First Nations Data

Métis Data

Inuit Data


Read our community and partner reports

It is important to understand why Indigenous-led processes and partnerships are essential when conducting research with First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations and data. Please see below for a list of key reference materials:

Indigenous Portfolio Team

The ICES Indigenous Portfolio is led by Dr. Jennifer Walker. For more information, please contact us at