September 11-13 2018
Mato Ohitika is invited to take part in the Supporting Tribal Data Governance for Community Resilience: A Southwest Indigenous Climate Summit in Tucson, Arizona
I had the honor of meeting with a number academic scholars, tribal officials, professionals, and community members to discuss many issues in data governance, data sovereignty, climate and health resilience and how Southwestern tribes are beginning to address these topics moving forward.
The US Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network (USIDSN) was a crucial resource for me in my doctoral dissertation and I was able to meet with many people who continue to move data sovereignty from theory into practice.
One of the most profound things I discovered in this summit was that data sovereignty is not simply a policy overview; rather it is an ever growing discipline that encompasses tribal oral traditions that constitute data passed onto the next generation which opened up a whole new set of ideas beyond data science and machine learning I brought to the discussion.
Community input is crucial developing SMART solutions that are not only practical, but honor tribal cultural capital. This position is crucial in consultation with tribal communities to make decolonizing data and research an integral part of rebuilding Native nations in the context of high ethical examinations how we move forward.
I want to thank the entire workgroup for their candid and insightful contributions to the ongoing discussions of data sovereignty.
August 8-10 2018
Mato Ohitika is invited to deliver a keynote address to the National Native Health Research Training Conference (NNHRT) in Prior Lake, Minnesota
Mato Ohitika had the distinct honor of delivering a keynote address to the National Native Health Research Training Conference in Prior Lake, Minnesota at the Mystic Lake Casino. This opportunity provided Mato Ohitika to provide not only an overview of how the Data Sovereignty Initiative works in practice, but also a live demonstration of how real-time data analytics can be achieved using data science.
This live data science exercise was to demonstrate the power of real-time analytics using ArcGIS online, ArcGIS Pro, and Survey 123. During the keynote, I invited members of the conference to submit answers to a survey I designed via QR code/URL to examine preliminary concerns stakeholders may have about critical health research questions facing Native communities today using their phones during the keynote.
The resulting dashboards of the results included word clouds, bar charts, and other results showed how powerful this platform could be relative to data-driven decisions actuated in real time.
The accompanying Key Indicators and Descriptors helped drive the discussion on new ways of organizing data to make informed decisions strategically using citizen science.
The full slide show from the conference can be seen here: Keynote Slides
I want to thank the whole staff at the NNHRT for making my experience a memorable one. Thank you.
Mato Ohitika Contributes to an Ongoing Project
Info-Tech’s upcoming blueprint
GIS Technology and Land Management for Tribes
June 14, 2018
The Native American Technology Research Center (NATRC) is a research division of the Info~Tech Research group. Mato Ohitika submitted a piece about data sovereignty in the published ESRI Press book Tribal GIS: Supporting Native American Decision Making (see News September 2017) and it was noticed by the NATRC. They inquired if Mato Ohitika would be willing to give some insights into the future of GIS and data sovereignty for their upcoming research.
The meeting was very insightful and want to thank Mark for the great interaction; I am glad I could provide perspective to further American Indian GIS outcomes.
Mato Ohitika Travels to the
National Congress of American Indians
Kansas City, MO
June 3-6 2018
Fresh off my graduation victory, I traveled to Kansas City as a new member of the NCAI. The mid-year conference is designed to highlight the current research American Indian tribes, researchers, and scholars having in building and maintaining community. One topic of interest that is gaining traction is the idea of data sovereignty; a fundamental topic of my PhD dissertation.
The conference had a number of speakers discussing about how to use data as an act of sovereignty. I had many meaningful conversations with many individuals on how I could help using my data sovereignty framework I designed. As my designs gain traction, I will continue to educate our tribal communities the importance of data sovereignty as fundamental shift in leveraging data science in policy analysis and decision-making.
Please visit the NCAI website to learn more about the continuing efforts to develop sound policy to advocate for American Indian communities.
Mato Ohitika Successfully Completes PhD in
Computational Science and Statistics
On April 12, 2018, I successfully defended my PhD dissertation:
THE IMPACT OF DATA SOVEREIGNTY ON
AMERICAN INDIAN SELF-DETERMINATION:
A FRAMEWORK PROOF OF CONCEPT USING DATA SCIENCE
My educational studies have been a long journey of successes and failures that have shaped what I wanted to accomplish by developing a manuscript of this magnitude to serve as the cornerstone of my company Mato Ohitika Analytics.
I wrote this dissertation not to sit on a shelf to collect dust, rather to design SMART solutions for tribal communities using data science. This accomplishment could not have been possible without the forward thinking of my PhD committee who saw the vision I had in developing this data sovereignty concept from an idea to a proof of concept using machine learning.
My dissertation asserts the need "to provide an ethical, cultural, and community based consultancy that is designed by an American Indian, for nation building to assist tribal communities with economic development, strategic planning, and data driven decision-making".
On May 5, 2018, I graduated from South Dakota State University with my PhD in Computational Science and Statistics. My deepest thanks to all who made this possible. In the coming weeks I will showcase some topics of my dissertation and how this will be integrated into my company mission goals.
Dr. Joseph Robertson
Mato Ohitika's Partnership with
South Dakota State University
Through the course of my studies the last 4 years, we have been fortunate to have a Native American recently appointed as the President of the University. Even more incredible, Mato Ohitika (me) is the first Native American trained data scientist in the Computational Science and Statistics PhD program in the Mathematics and Statistics Department, I feel the impact of establishing such precedence as a testimony to where we are going and it is truly inspiring.
I recently did a photo shoot to showcase my doctoral dissertation in creating SMART solutions for Tribal Communities, with the support SDSU has provided me in my doctoral studies, I am grateful to work towards outcomes that create opportunities for our Native youth close to home and here at South Dakota State University through the Wokini Initiative.
Mato Ohitika's Data Science Award
On February 11-12 2018, South Dakota State University held its 2018 Data Science Symposium. This two day event showcased a number interesting perspectives as to the state of data science and was a great networking opportunity.
The first day contained workshops on Python and the Microsoft Azure platform. I was able to attend the Azure workshop, it was quite interesting and was interesting to see how R stacks on the platform.
The symposium also showcased a number of students posters of their research, and all posters were judged with prizes. I am excited to report, I won first place in the contest! It was such a great honor and another way to showcase The Data Sovereignty Initiative!
My thanks to the judges!
Mato Ohitika's Community Outreach February
Mato Ohitika took a break from his studies to travel back to the Lake Traverse Reservation in February to attend Career Day at Tiospa Zina Tribal School and to continue for his 4th year as a judge for the Enemy Swim Day School Science Fair.
I have always felt a strong connection to my home, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation. Anytime I have been asked to come back and provide professional advice, stories about higher education, or simply because my community service is what it means to be Native, I never hesitate to go back, I am so grateful our school system has continually asked me to come back and speak to our Native youth, it is a privilege I won’t soon forget.
Mato Ohitika's Road to the Doctorate
It has been a whirlwind of activity this holiday season and I have been busy teaching, writing and preparing for my final semester here at South Dakota State University. On January 11, 2018, I successfully passed my written and oral comprehensive exam in the Computational Science and Statistics Program in the Mathematics and Statistics department. This represents a high honor in accomplishing my status as a PhD candidate. My defense is planned for early April and I plan to graduate in May of 2018.
My deepest thanks to my family, friends, and committee members that have made this possible!
Road to the International Tour of European Cities
To promote my business and personal goals of the future, I am currently on a short tour of Europe. I have stops in Amsterdam and London this week. I have already had some excellent conversations about Mato Ohitika'a principles and vision with some very interesting individuals that have already made my trip here exciting and very fulfilling.
Thank you, and if you see me out and about don't hesitate to stop and talk about data sovereignty! Cheers!
Road to the International Chiefs of Police Conference Update, November 2017
I want to thank the NIJ and their staff for their hospitality and their support to attend the IACP. The opportunities we had as STEM scholars to attend talks, and sit in on official business meetings of Tribal public safety officials, and meet people that are invested in exploring outcomes that make our American Indian communities safer was such a great opportunity and to forward dialogue in exploring new ways in using higher education as a tool for change in all of our communities.
We had the opportunity to speak with Principal Deputy Director Howard Spivak, M.D., Police Chief Bill Denke of the Sycuan Tribe, and many others made this experience so worthwhile. As we move forward in helping our communities in all aspects of public safety, nation building, and education I will always be reminded of all of the people that make these opportunities possible and my deepest and sincerest thanks to all that made this opportunity possible. I hope to continue to use data science to advance these conversations beyond networking and to provide data driven solutions through the Data Sovereignty Initiative.
My personal thanks goes to NIJ staff member Steven Hafner, who made our trip so delightful, thanks Steven!
I have the distinct honor in receiving a full travel scholarship to the IACP conference in Philadelphia October 21-24, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice (OJP/NIJ). I hope to continue to network with many of you as my Data Sovereignty framework proof of concept continues to develop further.
I am currently designing a flyer called, How Do We Create a SMART Solution for Tribal Communities for Criminal Justice and Policing based on my experiencess at the conference. Please stayed tuned and if you happen to be attending the IACP, feel free to ask me for a copy of the flyer that will outline in simple terms how to create a SMART solution using the Data Sovereignty Framework.
Many thanks for this opportunity as we work towards equitable interaction when working with American Indian Tribes!
Mato Ohitika is Featured in ESRI Press
2nd Edition of Tribal GIS
Tribal GIS: Supporting Native American Decision Making
I had the great honor of submitting my on-going work on the
Data Sovereignty Intitiative.
In my article,
The Power of Data Sovereignty in Empowering Tribal Communities Using GIS
I have outlined many of the things you can read about on this website. When ESRI approached me in submitting an article for the book in late 2016, I was (as still am) developing my Data Sovereignty framework for my PhD defense in 2018, so as things continue to develop, you can find that here.
My deepest and sincerest gratitude to ESRI for your continued support and interest in supporting American Indian tribes.
I had the opportunity to attend the JSM 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. After my debut at the 2017 ESRI UC presenting my Data Sovereignty proof of concept; I had an enjoyable time networking and speaking with colleagues all week at JSM!
In addition to all of the amazing conversations, presentations, and great food, I also had the honor of joining another professional organization, Caucus for Women in Statistics (CWS). As an underrepresented minority myself, I found joining this organization to be a win-win in promoting women and minorities in the statistics fields. I look forward to collaborating with CWS in future projects to promote the best in our fields that make our communities better.
The ESRI User Conference has been the incubator for my current doctoral work involving Data Sovereignty. My vision for unifying data in Indian Country began with my story map about The Impact of Data Sovereignty on American Indian Self-Determination in 2016. One year later, this theory will be put into practice with my governance framework called the Data Sovereignty Initiative. I will present the current state of this proof of concept with a talk at ESRI UC 2017.
Read on about what Data Sovereignty is about and the design metrics I have developed below.
Specializing in American Indian and
Tribal Government Data Science Solutions
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