The Data Democracy Project (DDP) is a partnership between North Dakota Native Vote (NDNV) and Mato Ohitika Analytics LLC (MOA) that works to support a permanent state-based engagement program that empowers citizens to participate in civic life. NDNV fosters sustainable and positive social change through community organizing, mobilization, leadership development, education, civic engagement, and public policy advocacy.

The DDP partnership utilizes the strength of MOA’s Data Sovereignty Initiative (DSI) to create Native led data collection systems suited to the unique experience of Native American people living on their reservation homelands. The DDP seeks to identify the role that data science plays in understanding the complex nature of how data models the nature of human interactions through culture, citizenship, democratic influences of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and grassroots organizing.

In addition, key impending issues that could help in the educational nature of this data driven decision making is focused on:

  • How quickly could solutions be created that reflect the outcomes of the 2022 North Dakota primary and general elections and beyond?
  • What are strategies to assist in telling stories about the importance of voting and participating in democracy?
  • What is the impact of gerrymandering within American Indian reservation boundaries as they stand from the 2020 census redistricting?
  • How do we tell stories in meaningful ways to American Indian communities in North Dakota?
  • What does a comprehensive long-term strategic plan look like in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning (ML) techniques to confront the settler colonialism constructs for truth telling about our shared history in this country?

Problem Statement

The origins of this project were centered on developing digital infrastructure that indigenous grassroots organizations could use to better understand campaign planning, voter tracking, advanced geographic information systems (GIS) mapping, and election analysis. MOA’s DSI framework seeks to democratize data for communities’ benefit to tell stories about the history of Native voter disenfranchisement and to examine carefully the voter and census data to inform tribal citizens of their right to vote.

The DDP partnership is an indigenous led collective of professionals that lead with cultural knowledge and kinship systems to promote a sense of responsibility towards every individual that works within American Indian communities for the betterment of society and democracy.

Our Next Steps

The DDP partnership is actively working on data driven solutions that utilize data science to make real time decisions based on the data collected through indigenous data sovereignty. This strategic act of sovereignty is part of MOA’s DSI designs to generate data owned and controlled by indigenous communities to strengthen self-determination. Current and future work that are actively in development:

  • Develop Geo-Artificial Intelligence for urban gerrymandering and voter targeting through geo spatial modeling
  • Further develop codebase to utilize 2020 Census data for model integration
  • Develop Voter Action Network (VAN) protocols for data governance and AI ethics
  • Project management planning for the 2024 presidential election
  • Developing additional Story Maps on Voting
  • Build a geodatabase of voters from election rolls
  • Expand Voter Action Network to neighboring states