Mapping Native Lands


October 8th saw the growing recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, celebrating and remembering their history and culture. With this day also comes the promotion of interesting information, efforts, and mapping work done by individuals wishing to preserve the geography of the Americas’ original inhabitants.

Canadian developer Victor Temprano– founder of Mapster – has created “Native Land,” a map that helps individuals find the original inhabitants of the land they live on. Started in 2015, the site was originally created, in Temprano’s words: “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.”

Native Land operates as a site that evolves due to input from users and offers valuable insight for educators wishing to show this map and its data to their students, including a guide on questions to ask, and how to start a conversation about this type of data. For those looking to utilize the data on Native Land, the website’s API page has information on how to do so.

Screenshot from Native Land

Screenshot from Native Land

To describe the site’s purpose, Temprano quotes Aaron Capella, creator of Tribal Nations Maps, a website with comprehensive, First Nations maps of the Western Hemisphere:

“This map is in honor of all the Indigenous Nations [of colonial states]. It seeks to encourage people — Native and non-Native — to remember that these were once a vast land of autonomous Native peoples, who called the land by many different names according to their languages and geography. The hope is that it instills pride in the descendants of these People, brings an awareness of Indigenous history and remembers the Nations that fought and continue to fight valiantly to preserve their way of life.”

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