“Maps have been the means and metaphors of state dominance, intimately linked with colonization and neo-colonial projects of territorial control, economic development, and conservation planning. But in recent decades, subordinate groups—indigenous peoples, neighborhood groups, marginalized rural communities have begun to draw on the rhetorical power of maps and the empowering potentials of mapping projects for community building, participatory development and environmental conservation planning, and cultural survival. This ‘counter-mapping’ movement carries the potential for a new cartography, an alternative means of story-telling that aims for justice and equality in the ways landscapes and places arethought about and developed….
Indigenous mapping and participatory GIS for the purposes of territorial demarcation, cultural preservation and conservation management is rapidly growing in scope, sophistication and political significance. In indigenous lands throughout the Americas, Africa and Asia, local communities and organizations are forming alliances with scholars, activists and NGOs to render legible community rights, resource use, sacred places, and other important spatial features to outside entities. Maps are often produced in workshops, where indigenous representatives work with cartographers and GIS specialists to describe, document, and represent each indigenous landscape. Because of the informational value and high accuracy of such participatory mapping and GIS projects, they are increasingly becoming central features of biodiversity conservation and land-use planning in areas populated by indigenous people. For indigenous leaders world-wide, such mapping projects have come to form an important element of broader indigenous representational politics, i.e. the use of Internet sites, video, photography, and other visual media as cultural means of resistance to state hegemony.” - This excerpt comes from the 2014 Indigenous Conference at Cornel
For this reason, we present the Indigenous Peoples Atlas Project.