I was intrigued by the website NativeMaps.org, and wanted to learn more about how indigenous peoples were using digital technologies to map traditional territories. I came across this article from the Globe and Mail, which details how Google’s Map Your World Community program can be used in indigenous contexts.
The Globe and Mail article explains how Ray Harris, a Stz’uminus First Nation elder, and an anthropologist from the University of Victoria used Google Maps to map traditional territory. The map they created includes a plethora of indigenous knowledge that would not appear on a regular Google Map, such as the location of a sea wolf petroglyph, the site of a no-longer-standing residential school, and a seagull egg harvesting site.
This has potential for indigenous education. Specifically, Harris discusses the potential to share this information in the Hul’qumi’num language. The article also discusses the potential of using this for land claims purposes. There are, however, issues with broadcasting traditional information. From what I gather, these maps can be made private, and will not appear on regular Google Street View.
“I have been fishing all my life, I’ve never recorded anything, I know the whole coast. And I have a hankering now to record stuff, for my kids and my grandkids.”
Ray Harris, Stz’uminus elder