As more and more communities rightfully recognize October 8th as Indigenous People's Day, the question of how best to celebrate indigenous people arises. A good first step is learning about which tribes resided in your specific part of the country before vicious settler colonialism uprooted them or likely worse. Thanks to a mapping company's clever approach to Google Maps, it's possible to learn which native tribes once inhabited your neighborhood.
It's called Native-Land, and it's run by Canadian developer Victor G Temprano. Temprano also runs the company Mapster, which helps to create maps for a wide variety of uses.
"Native-Land.ca started in early 2015," he says on the site's About page, "during a time of a lot of resource development projects in British Columbia. While mapping out pipeline projects and learning more about them for the sake of public awareness, I started to ask myself whose territories all these projects were happening on. Once I started finding the geographic data and mapping… well, it just kind of expanded from there."
From the Trans Mountain pipeline to Dakota Access, oil pipelines are often flashpoints of technological controversy. With Native-Lands, Temprano was able to use cutting-edge mapping to explore the legacy of a wide variety of borders not often seen in the mainstream.
"I feel that Western maps of Indigenous nations are very often inherently colonial," he says on the site, "in that they delegate power according to imposed borders that don’t really exist in many nations throughout history. They were rarely created in good faith, and are often used in wrong ways."
Native-Lands is very openly not an academic or professional project, one that is constantly changing through input from users. But it's not just a pet project either: in August, Temprano announced that he had hired a research assistant to further develop the site's maps.
H/t Nyasha Junior
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