Radical Cartographies: Relational Epistemologies and Principles for Successful Indigenous Cartographic Praxis
AuthorRichard, Gina Dawn
KeywordsFirst Nations Geography
Geographic Information System
Native American Geography
Native American Treaty Rights
American Indian Studies
Federal Indian Law and Policy
AdvisorColombi, Benedict J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIndigenous cartography is based on a relational epistemology that works within a system where "place" and "ways of knowing" are intimately tied to Native communities' notions of kinship, oral tradition, and traditional ecological knowledge acquired over the millennia. It brings to life a place where mapping and geography cease to be simply Cartesian coordinates on a Euclidean plane and instead become storied landscapes. Indigenous cartography can be described as "radical" because it represents a departure from traditional Western ways of mapping and affirms an Indigenous political, economic and cultural sovereignty. As an intensely political act, Indigenous cartography can be an important tool used by Indigenous people to assert sovereignty in a bottom-up approach to land claims, in the management of cultural resources, and even to claim human remains for repatriation and reburial. If Indigenous groups wish to successfully utilize geospatial technologies as legal strategies, it will first require the development of the necessary infrastructure and training of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists from within. In much the same way that colonial practices of the past worked to achieve hegemony through the making of political and cultural boundaries, Indigenous cartography can work to dismantle these same colonial boundaries. A theory and methodology of Indigenous cartographic praxis is in use among some First Nations in British Columbia. However no "best practices" yet exist for the Indigenous use-and-mapping discipline. Consequently in the United States, Indigenous mapping is still considered an emerging approach. Therefore, can American Indian political and cultural sovereignty be supported by the implementation of Indigenous geospatial technologies? This dissertation will examine the British Columbian model and distill principles that can be successfully implemented by U. S. Native American communities who wish to develop capacity for this emerging geospatial technology based on the success of the First Nations model.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
American Indian Studies