Abstracts & Bios

Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography 2021: Indigenous Mapping

October 20-22, 2021 at the David Rumsey Map Center


Eric Anderson and Carrie Cornelius, Haskell Indian Nations University

Appreciating alternative approaches to map-making in Native North America

This presentation broadly surveys several core concepts and examples of indigenous mapping systems that are distinct from and challenge Western notions of cartography.  While both traditions share some commonalities (for example, in offering representational mechanics for understanding our world), Native schema utilized for recognition of physiography and larger categories have often been misunderstood or dismissed as illegitimate forms of science.  

Maps, of course, are symbols, and symbols are culturally specific and driven.  Inherent biases against American Indians built into colonial models of ethnocentrism that have too often influenced education result in missed opportunities to view additional pathways of knowledge with the potential to yield greater avenues of understanding.  Since Native American identity has long been tied to the land itself, we will examine mapping approaches that reckon with, employ, or rely upon various environmental features, including origin beliefs, other-than-human relatives, landmarks, calendrics, and astronomical knowledge.   

With this appreciation of alternate perspectives in mind, suggestions for further research emerge.  Among these are the possibility of decolonizing cartographic modes and assumptions that have not fully engaged with or given credence to how Native North American people view themselves and the world.  At the very least, some new and exciting conversations may be engendered that can lead to more equitable vistas poised to enrich us all.


Eric P. Anderson holds a doctorate in American History from the University of Kansas, specializing in American Indian cultures and the history of the United States West.  He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and teaches at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas.  His major research focus is on American Indian education, especially the system of federal boarding schools established for Native youth in the late nineteenth century.  He is currently working on projects about the history of Haskell Institute, as well as a textbook examining American Indian cultures and history.

Carrie Cornelius is the Librarian at Haskell Indian Nations University where she values the traditional perspectives of her students from over a hundred tribes. In her work to increase access to information, she lifts the students and people of her community to value their own traditional knowledges. Maternally, Carrie is a member of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi. Paternally, she is of Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin. She is a graduate of the previously named Haskell Indian Junior College, the University of Kansas School of Education, and Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Science.


Natchee Blu Barnd, Oregon State University

Indigenous installations

Indigenous-controlled public art can play a meaningful role in the reclamation of geographies and cultural cartographies. Presenting images of several Columbia River Art public installation projects, I argue that such pieces have a unique, although constrained, ability to move from being objects just used as symbols of multicultural incorporation toward insurgent acts sustaining and creating spatial reorganization. What kind of geographical work can be done by a cedar bunkrail in a public plaza or a riverside iron/wood sculpture?  These questions of spatial significance and capacity are especially well tested in urban areas, where Indigenous presence is often most thoroughly “removed” or forgotten. What happens when Native homelands are re-mapped and reasserted within the city? Is art the most effective means of making such assertions? This presentation will describe ongoing collaborative research, commissioned by a Native nation, with the explicit aim of actively reshaping the landscape of Portland, Oregon and beyond. Drawing in part from interviews with artists and tribal officials, I will outline the unique mapping project being deployed by this Indigenous nation as it moves toward a more intentional and expansive assertion of Indigenous lands and space.


Natchee Blu Barnd is an Associate Professor at Oregon State University, where he researches comparative and critical ethnic studies, particularly the intersections of ethnic studies, cultural geography, and Indigenous studies. His recent book, Native Space: Geographic Strategies to Unsettle Settler Colonialism (OSU Press) illustrates the ways that Native people in North America sustain and create Indigenous geographies in settler colonial nations. His next book, A People’s Guide to PDX and Beyond (UC Press), highlights lesser known sites of social justice and oppression across the Portland area.



Tom Bassett, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Drawing the line: The interplay of African and European mapping practices in Binger’s Carte du Haut-Niger au Golfe de Guinée par le Pays de Kong et le Mossi (1:1,000,000)

This paper illustrates the intertwined nature of European and African mapping practices in the construction of Captain Louis-Gustave Binger’s 1890 Carte du Haut-Niger au Golfe de Guinée par le Pays de Kong et le Mossi (1:1,000,000). Most of the geographical information contained in this map, especially routes and place names, derives from African sources, not from firsthand observations by Binger or other Europeans. Binger collected this secondhand information, which he called itinéraires par renseignements, from Africans, who conveyed their geographic knowledge to him through a variety of mapping practices. Both Binger and the Africans he encountered, especially traders and pilgrims, were faced with the same geographical problem—how to get from Point A to Point B.  “Drawing the line” refers to these shared mapping practices but also to the limits placed by African authorities on French imperial advances into the Niger Bend. These political tensions stand out in Binger’s map. Some regions where he was able to collect itineraries are covered with dense route networks, while other areas where African leaders refused his passage are filled with blank spaces. The paper concludes that Binger’s map, as well other 19th century European maps of Africa, should be viewed as co-constructions to which Africans made major contributions. 


Thomas Bassett writes on the political ecology of agrarian change in West Africa and the history of cartography of Africa. He is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography & GIS and former Director of the LAS Global Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His writings on the history of cartography focus on Indigenous mapping, administrative mapping, road mapping, and mapping and land privatization in Africa. He has contributed to three volumes of the History of Cartography and is currently working on a book on the role of mapping in France’s colonial conquest of 19th century West Africa.


Carlos Eduardo Lemos Chaves (Duda), Federal University of Goiás

Power cartography: Mapping the rights violations - Quilombola community Rio dos Macacos and the Brazilian State

This presentation addresses a case of territorial conflict between the Brazilian Army and Quilombola communities, which have been the target of expropriation attempts by military bases, such as the communities of Ilha da Marambaia, in Rio de Janeiro (Southeast) and Alcântara, in Maranhão (North of the country). Its focus is on the Quilombo Rio dos Macacos. Their origins date back to black women and blacks enslaved in old sugar mills in Bahia, Brazil, during the Colonial period, XVII century. The construction of a Naval village, in the 1970s, a time of greater violence by the civil-military dictatorship, then installed in Brazil, to house military personnel serving at the Aratu Naval Base. The conflict only gained public visibility in 2009, when the Brazilian Navy filed lawsuits for the definitive expulsion of the quilombolas from the remaining part of their traditional territory, which was still occupied. The presented maps demonstrate the process of territorial usurpation, accompanied by extreme violence, in expulsions, illegal arrests, torture, beatings, physical, psychological and sexual violence, religious intolerance and cultural disintegration, and curtailment of traditional modes of community production.


Carlos Eduardo Lemos Chaves (Duda) graduated in Law from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA - Brazil). He is a Specialist in Social Rights in the Field (Agrarian Residency) through the National Program for Education in Agrarian Reform (Pronera) and the Federal University of Goiás (UFG - Brazil). He is a Master's candidate in the Postgraduate Program in Agrarian Law at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG - Brazil).


Marie de Rugy, University of Strasbourg

Commissioning indigenous maps. James G. Scott in Burma

In addition to the information gathered orally (Bayly, Empire and information), the British used, and commissioned, maps on the ground. These provided, at different periods of colonisation, place names, practical information, or the path of a country's pre-existing borders. What place did these maps occupy in the production of cartographic knowledge, especially in the light of the Europeans' scientific methods? Were they treated in the same way as oral information? Did local mapmaking in these territories continue during the colonial period, or did it stop? Were the same maps made before and after the arrival of the Europeans?

Based on indigenous maps collected in British Burma by James George Scott (1851-1935) and kept at the Cambridge University Library, this contribution offers an alternative history of the first years of British colonisation in Upper Burma in the 1880s and 1890s. The entangled scripts (Chinese characters, Shan, Burmese and English) as well as the materiality and the visual codes of these documents bring into view forms of contact that did not last long. Contextualising these maps with other kinds of sources, including Scott’s diaries and administrative reports, allows us to reconstruct their production as part of processes of intelligence gathering and frontier settlement. By tracing the more or less willing role of Burmese clerks, guides and interpreters in the cartographic processes implemented by the English on the ground, we can reintroduce these actors into a history of cartography that has long been Eurocentric. Doing so reveals how the British had to rely on indigenous knowledge to control a territory quite unknown to them during the early years of colonisation.


Marie de Rugy is a Lecturer in Modern History at Sciences Po, Strasbourg, France. She has published one monograph, the English translation of which will be published soon (Imperial Borderlands: Maps and Territory-Building in the Northern Indochinese Peninsula (1885-1914), Brill, 2021), and several articles on cartography and empire in South-East Asia.


Vicente Diaz, University of Minnesota

Toward an Indigenous cartography with Micronesian seafaring alterity in Mni Sota Makoce

Since the last quarter of the twentieth century, scholars from multiple disciplines have explored the radical potentialities of traditional open-ocean voyaging from the Central Carolinian region in Micronesia for innovating cultural, political, historical and critical analyses. Among the signature features of seafaring’s imagined alterity are fully-embodied, multi-sensory engagement and immersion in ecological knowledge, spatializing practices that posit mobile islands, stationary canoes, and radical and co-constitutive relations of kinship and reciprocity among human, land, water, and sky forms, and other-than-human beings. To be sure, the survival of Central Carolinian seafaring culture’s technical abilities and its extensive ecological knowledge, as well as seafaring’s broader revival across the Pacific, have been among the most potent elements of cultural and political resurgence in, as well as critical scholarship from, the Pacific Islands.   Taking advantage of a roomful of cartographers, this paper extends seafaring culture’s radical alterit(ies) to propose something like an indigenous Carolinian ‘cartography’ based on non-Cartesian (even non-Newtonian) space (and matter) by presenting the fundamentals of indigenous seafaring and extending their practice to a case study of indigenous canoe culture and voyaging knowledge “revitalization” among diasporic Micronesians in Dakota homelands, waters, and skies in present-day rural Minnesota. What would such a remapped cartography – and interrelated conceptions of human and island ‘territoriality’—do to and for mapmaking and its study?


Prof. Vicente M. Diaz directs the Native Canoe Program which centers Indigenous watercraft and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) about human/water/land/sky interrelations for engaged teaching and research.  An interdisciplinary—sometimes anti-disciplinary—scholar with specialty in “non-instrument” outrigger sailing canoe ocean voyaging, Diaz mixes “traditional” Pacific Islander cultural and political form and materiality with the content of academic critical theory to model global, comparative, and critical Native Studies. He is the author of Repositioning the Missionary: Rewriting the Histories of Colonialism, Native Catholicism and Indigeneity in Guam (Pacific Islands Monograph Series, University of Hawai’i 2010), Producer/Writer of Sacred Vessels: Navigating Tradition and Identity in Micronesia (1997; 29 min), and co-author of the Hale’ta/Our Roots series of K-12 history and civics textbooks produced by the Guam Political Status Education Commission. He is also former director of the Micronesian Seafaring Society and co-founder of the Guam Traditional Seafarers, with three decades of working with traditional navigators and canoe-builders from the Central Caroline islands in the western Pacific.  Diaz is a member of the University of Minnesota's ArTeS Collective and the Back to Indigenous Futures Collaborative, an interdisciplinary team of Indigenous and STEM researchers working with Dakota and Pacific Islander communities to advance Indigenous political and cultural resurgence in collaboration with critical and decolonial research practice through multi-sensoried, experiential, and Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality (VR/AR/MR) technologies.



Candace Fujikane, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Elemental cartography: Kānaka Maoli restorative mapping for a changing earth

Kānaka Maoli cartographies are rooted in land-based governance and arrangements of life premised on the laws of the elements that supercede the profit-driven motives of the laws of humans. In this way, Kānaka Maoli are returning to ancestral mapping of the elements to engage more intimately with climate change events. As we bear witness to the wastelanding of the earth by late liberal settler capital, now taking the form of melting glaciers, rising seas, acidification of the ocean, extended droughts, and the extinction of species, Indigenous peoples have been working to green the earth once more. As Kānaka Maoli scientists have urged, we need to learn the names of the elements of our places if we are to survive, adapt to, and transform the effects of global climate change. Kānaka Maoli mapped ancestral knowledges through naming 400,000 akua or elemental forms, including winds, rains, cloud formations, ocean currents, and waterways, each with their own elemental functions specific to hundreds of ahupuaʻa, land divisions that generally extend from the mountains to the seas, each embodying the natural processes of growth, decay, and regeneration. The kānāwai a ke akua (the laws of the elements) have been identified through the art of kilo, keen intergenerational observation and forecasting of these elemental forms and their relationships with each other, teaching us how we are to grow pilina (intimate relationships) with ʻāina (lands, seas, and skies). Kānaka Maoli at Kauaʻula, Maui, are now remapping lands, replacing grids of settler colonial Tax Map Key (TMK) mapping with the elemental mapping of 1848 Land Commission Awards (LCA) and (Royal Patent Grants) under the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. This radical resurgence of elemental cartographies has enabled Kānaka Maoli to adapt to elemental changes in the natural world and the restoration of a thriving planet for us all.


Candace Fujikane is Professor of English at the University of Hawaiʻi. She has co-edited with Jonathan Okamura Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawaiʻi (University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2008), and she has recently published Mapping Abundance for a Planetary Future: Kanaka Maoli and Critical Settler Cartographies in Hawaiʻi (Duke University Press, 2021). For the past twenty years, she has stood for the protection of lands and waters in Hawaiʻi and for Hawaiian political independence. 



Laura Harjo, University of Oklahoma

Spatializing our futurity and relationality: Mvskoke emergence geographies

Indigenous futurity is the enactment of theories and practices that activate our ancestors’ unrealized possibilities, the act of living out the futures we wish for in a contemporary moment, and the creation of the conditions for these futures. Theories and practices of kinship are one way of activating our ancestors unrealized possibilities and holding spaces for future relatives. Kinship is carried out through many spatialities that refuse to fall into a taxonomy of nation-state delineated geographies. For example, the ways that community convenes in urban areas might include “inter-tribal” convenings, in Tulsa that might be hand games, sports tournaments like softball or basketball, and pow-wows. This yields ephemeral geographies of Indigenous community. Remembrance convenings for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls also operate as another type of geography—an ephemeral and meta-physical spatiality in which a community maintains dialogue and a responsibility to their kin that have transitioned to the spiritual realm. I locate my work within community planning and in many ways conventional planning is not prepared to have a respectful planning process when grappling with the constitutive elements of Indigenous futurity. An Indigenous futurity that invokes kinship, meta-physical realms, responsibility to kin, while also reckoning with time that is not linear and communities that are not spatially fixed is necessary for community planning. Kinship disrupts linear structuring of time in community—kinship is given primacy over the necro-chronologies of history that mark time through loss and tragedy, thus grappling with these spatialities of deep relations is imperative to Indigenous futurity.


Laura Harjo is a Mvskoke scholar, award winning author, and associate professor in Native American Studies and affiliated faculty in the Regional and City Planning Program at the University of Oklahoma. Her scholarly inquiry is at the intersection of geography and critical ethnic studies with “community” as an analytic focus. Harjo’s research and teaching centers on three areas: spatial storytelling; anti-violence and Indigenous architecture and planning; and community-based knowledge production. Harjo's book, Spiral to the Stars: Mvskoke Tools of Futurity (University of Arizona Press, 2019), employs Mvskoke epistemologies and Indigenous feminisms to offer a community-based practice of futurity.


Mishuana Goeman, UCLA

Mapping urban communities of care in cartographic art practices

Recently Indigenous artists have used cartographic tools in an artistic way to reinvision the colonial landscape, to speak to and against the mass development of Native land, uproot white supremacist architecture and create awareness of original peoples’ ongoing caretaking in the cityscape. Creating Indigenous Visibility in Urban Spaces is a necessary remapping of the city. Making visible Indigenous landscapes unsettle a visual settler terrain that structures ongoing dispossession. These powerful mappings are key as faceless mass development of tribal lands continues to threaten the ecologies and landscapes of Indigenous homelands, indeed of all our homelands. Indians are the beautiful “graffiti,” in the words of Leeanne Betasamosake Simpson, denying settler permanence. Our art, bodies and actions are embodied sovereignty on the settler landscapes meant to erase and eradicate Indigenous forms of relationality. Artistic renditions of the relationship between the human, more-than-human, and landscapes are affective in nature and thus deep in mapping larger communities of care. We will explore the recent artistic maps of Cara Romero’s collaborative Tongva Land project, River Garza’s commissioned work for UCLA, and Mercedes Dorame’s installation at the Fowler’s The Map and the Territory alongside more traditional maps that depict the urban development of Los Angeles. 


Dr. Mishuana Goeman, Tonawanda Band of Seneca, is a Professor of Gender Studies and American Indian Studies, and affiliated faculty in Community Engagements and Critical Race Studies in the Law School, UCLA. She is also the inaugural Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Native American and Indigenous Affairs. She will be the associate director of the Center for the Study of Women 2021-2022. Along with several journal and book chapters, she is also the author of Mark My Words: Native Women Mapping Our Nations (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), part of Keywords in Gender and Sexuality Studies (2021) editorial collective, and a Co-PI on three community based digital projects, Mapping Indigenous L.A (2015), Carrying Our Ancestors Home (2019), California Native Hubs (2021).


Alex Hidalgo, Texas Christian University

Study of a mutilated map: Indigenous cartography out of context

Histories of Indigenous maps from early colonial Mexico have traditionally focused on the study of pictorial illustrations and the meaning of lines and symbols used to express place, geography, and objects. But the analysis that has resulted from this line of inquiry traditionally centers on the way Nahua, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Maya painters incorporated or rejected Western ideas and culture, as well as on how they gradually lost or preserved Mesoamerican pictorial strategies over time. Inevitably, a history of displacement emerges at the end of the sixteenth century that sees Indigenous mapping enter into full decline, reappearing on occasion (generally without much success) in a cheap version of its former self to help mitigate encroachment.  The map of Our Lady of the Rosary, an eighteenth-century depiction of lands of the Mixtec town of Santa María Atzompa in the Valley of Oaxaca, fits neatly into the latter category.  Except that beyond its original use as a record designed to help establish territorial boundaries, the map continued to feature in the cultural, social, and political spheres of the town well into the twenty-first century when it disappeared from view.  This talk reframes the discussion of Indigenous cartography by considering the way maps move through time.  What can the various lives of a handmade eighteenth-century map tell us about archiving traditions, ritual, and social memory?  What does the mobility of the map reveal about the history of jealousy, anger, and retribution?  How do market forces and aesthetics shape our understanding of Indigenous knowledge? 

Alex Hidalgo is Associate Professor of Latin American History at Texas Christian University with an interest in archives, New World print and manuscript culture, ethnography, and the history of cartography.  He is the author of Trail of Footprints: A History of Indigenous Mapmaking from Viceregal Mexico (University of Texas Press, 2019) and he is currently at work on his second book, Mexican Soundscapes of the Colonial Era.  Hidalgo’s research has received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, and the Library of Congress and he is currently a junior member of the Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School.


Rudo Kemper, Digital Democracy

On autonomy in digital approaches to participatory Indigenous mapping

The COVID-19 pandemic brought countless global processes to a screeching halt, and the work of Indigenous and other marginalized communities to protect their lands in remote areas was no exception. As the virus spread across the globe, communities found themselves shifting priorities to scrambling to close airfields and dealing with the tragic loss of their elders. 

As time passed, though, many communities returned to vitally important land protector work like mapping and monitoring, the importance of which further underscored by opportunistic land invasions by those seeking to take advantage of the pandemic situation. Meanwhile, for those of us at NGOs who work in solidarity with these communities as allies, the pandemic introduced a different problem: being unable to travel to the field to give workshops, trainings, and other close accompaniment.

After numerous failed attempts to make fieldwork happen, at Digital Democracy we found ourselves trying to make participatory mapping with our partners happen in the now-ubiquitous reality of meeting remotely and familiar grid boxes of video conferencing software. However, after some time and several remote trainings, mapping projects using tools like Mapeo really took off locally, with train-the-trainer processes succeeding in remarkable ways.

This prompted us to raise important questions, with methodological implications for community mapping that extend beyond pandemic: was there an increase in the level of autonomy and ownership in the communities taking on the training and participatory mapping process directly, precisely because we were not able to implement the usual model of in-person trainings and fieldwork to kick things off? What are the other conditions that make this kind of remote accompaniment model viable and perhaps more successful? And what should be the best practices in doing this kind of work moving forward, during and post-pandemic?

In this presentation, I will share lessons learned and experiences from my work in remotely accompanying communities in Kenya, Ecuador, and Canada.


Rudo Kemper is a human geographer with a background in archives and digital storytelling, and a lifelong technology tinkerer. For the past decade he has worked in solidarity with Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities in the Amazon to map their ancestral lands and document their traditional knowledge and oral histories. He is passionate about co-creating and applying technology to support marginalized communities in defending their right to self-determination and representation, and being in control of telling their own stories. Rudo currently works with Digital Democracy, where he is accompanying local communities across the globe in defending their lands, and stewarding the development of the Earth Defenders Toolkit, a new collaborative space for earth defender communities and their allies. He also serves on the executive boards of Native Land Digital and the International Society for Participatory Mapping, and is one of the core stewards of the open-source geostorytelling application Terrastories. Rudo is originally from Curaçao but is currently based in Springfield, Virginia.


Edson Krenak, University of Vienna and Cultural Survival

How to map my body: Legal imagination, Indigenous activism, and using maps as weapons

During the first centuries of colonialism in Brazil (XVI-XVII), indigenous peoples were represented in a pictorial and “exotic” way. Their symbolic and geographical depiction by the colonial power illustrated the economic, political, and cultural endeavors of the Portuguese Crown. After the Pombaline geopolitics of the 18th century (1750-1777), the cartographic representation of indigenous peoples practically disappeared. This marked the beginning of the social and political invisibility of the native peoples inhabiting the lowlands of the New World. The cartographic invisibility of indigenous peoples is part of the historical process of assimilation and violence that the spatial practice of the Brazilian State has imposed on indigenous peoples. Currently, the struggle for the demarcation of territories and recognition of the right to land is particularly arduous due to the ongoing absence of indigenous representation in the political and geographical maps of the country.

In response to this situation, the indigenous movement has been using and modifying maps as instruments for activism and advocacy. These forms of emergent indigenous cartography thus mobilize new spatial practices, methodologies, and ontologies. The Munduruku people, for instance, see their body-territory as constituent of the cosmological continuum of their world. Therefore, the self-demarcation of territory, as well as body-painting and narratives can be regarded as intricate performances of a counter-cartography aiming at visibility and confrontation.  

This article analyzes Munduruku cartography, called Mapa da Vida, The Map of life, comparing them with other forms of Amerindian cartography, in order to discuss how the emergent indigenous cartography in South America navigates the complex legal and political landscape. 


Edson “Krenak” Dorneles de Andrade, is an Indigenous activist, writer, and doctoral student at the University of Vienna, Austria, where he develops studies in legal anthropology. He holds a degree in linguistics and literary theory from the Federal University of São Carlos in Brazil. Edson Krenak works as a speaker and trainer at the Uka Institute in Brazil. As a writer, he won the 10th National Tamoios Award for Indigenous Writers in Brazil with the book O Sonho de Borum, and his short story "Kren and Pockrane, Why there is no Twing among the Krenak People" is part of the 2018 book supported by UNICEF, Nos, Anthology of Indigenous Tales.

At Cultural Survival, Edson Krenak coordinates programs in Brazil, supporting various layers of work, including advocacy, capacity building, and the Keepers of the Earth Fund.



Christine Luckasavitch, Native Land Digital

What stories can maps tell – if we let them?

Maps are visual stories; representations of familial and nation territories, the locations of our portages, and seasonal living places. What might Indigenous understandings of land look like in practice? How do we step beyond theorizing to establishing meaningful partnerships with Indigenous communities?

Native-Land.ca is known for the colorful tapestry of Indigenous lands, languages, and treaty boundaries. As an Indigenous-led Canadian not-for-profit organization, Native Land Digital encourages our users to engage critically with maps depicting colonial boundaries. Instead, we focus on increasing awareness and knowledge about Indigenous cultures and territories around the world by challenging concepts linked to settler colonialism. Native Land Digital is taking steps to increase Indigenous community sovereignty over Indigenous data, and offer space for Indigenous nation and tribal representation on their own terms.


Christine Luckasavitch is an Omàmìwininì Madaoueskarini Anishinaabekwe (a woman of the Madawaska River Algonquin people) and belongs to the Crane Clan. She is currently studying for her Masters of Arts in Indigenous Studies at Trent University.

Christine is the Owner/Executive Consultant of Waaseyaa Consulting and Waaseyaa Cultural Tours (@waaseyaaconsulting), two small businesses dedicated to dedicated to reviving and celebrating Indigenous traditional knowledge and culture-based practices through educational opportunities.

In addition to her own companies, Christine is the Executive Director of Native Land Digital, an Indigenous-led not-for-profit dedicated to providing educating about Indigenous peoples, territories and knowledge systems across the world.


Julie MacArthur, University of Toronto Mississauga

Mobile spaces: Indigenous mapping and the conquest of Eastern Africa

Cartography has long been defined through the opposition of fixity and mobility. Colonial cartography worked to affix populations to particular territories and vilified practices of mobility as aterritorial and uncivilized. Mobility, however, not only often constituted relationships between space, time, and bodies, but moreover served as a critical counter-mapping strategy. In this paper, I will explore mobile mapping practices in Eastern Africa, with particular focus on the Somali populations throughout the Horn of Africa. For Somalis, mobility mapped spaces of belonging, obligation, and sovereignty, that far from impermanent rather reflected a multiplicity of spaces and ability to adapt to environmental, social, and political needs. The shifting northern frontier between colonial Kenya and Italian Somaliland proved particularly resistant to colonial mapping and governance practices. Somalis not only provided crucial knowledge and labor to colonial mapping projects, but also unsettled colonial geographies through counter-mapping strategies: place-names that revealed alternative histories and spatial knowledge; embodied practices, spatial narratives, and visual cultures; calculated withholding, refusal, and outright subversion; and decolonial alternative geographies that continue to unsettle borders and state-making into the present. 


Dr. Julie MacArthur is an associate professor of African history at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include cartography and geographic imaginations, borders, mobility, and local practices of space, decolonization and sovereignty, memory and visual representation in modern Africa. She is the author of Cartography and the Political Imagination: Mapping Community in Colonial Kenya (Athens, 2016) and lead editor of Dedan Kimathi on Trial: Colonial Justice and Popular Memory in Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion (Athens, 2017), as well as several articles published in leading journals. She also works extensively in African cinema, both as a scholar and curator.


Joshua Manitowabi, Brock University

Mapping Anishinaabe Kendaaswin: Land, truth, and treaties through oral history

Maps have traditionally been used to situate a people in a spatial area to graphically represent aspects of their culture. However, historical cartography had colonialist biases and misrepresented Indigenous peoples’ views of their territory, their cultural knowledge, and their histories. Colonial mapping in general have often portrayed Anishinaabe people as static and uncivilized and thus distorted their traditional territory as empty landscapes that were available for occupation. This served the interests of colonial powers as these lands were then acquired through European/Indigenous treaty relations. 

Treaties with Indigenous peoples have been misrepresented in this same context, as nation to nation relationships that no longer evolve. How can critical cartography demonstrate and visually represent the ongoing treaty relationships which are in constant flux? Treaties with people, animals, plants, and water creatures are embedded within Anishinaabe oral history (dibaajmowin). This presentation will envision how decolonial mapping can portray treaty relations with the land, water and sky through the Dish With One Spoon Wampum treaty. It will also demonstrate through storytelling how Anishinaabe occupancy of Odawa Mnis is ongoing. Interactive mapping will be examined for its potential to address the limitations of static mapping in presenting an accurate Anishinaabe perspective. I will examine mapping strategies that incorporate traditional ways of imparting knowledge, such as storytelling and oral history. From the user’s perspective, this type of modern technology for constructing digital maps can offer alternative perspectives of Indigenous cultural representations while simultaneously providing new insights within contested areas of space between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.


Joshua Manitowabi is from the Odawa and Potawatomi nations located in Wikwemikong, Ontario, Canada. He completed his Honors BA degree with a major in History and a minor in Indigenous Studies and his MA degree in Cultural Anthropology both at McMaster University. He is currently a PhD Candidate at Brock University. He was raised in a home with both of his parents being fluent in Anishinaabemowin (Indigenous language of the Odawa). His interests include helping Indigenous youth work towards decolonization and cultural resurgence. He is currently an adjunct Professor in Indigenous Studies at McMaster University. His current research includes critical cartography and cultural geography of the Great Lakes Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee peoples during the eighteenth century. He is specifically analyzing treaty and governance history through the lens of the Odawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi peoples.  



Peter Martin, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

The cartography of Kallihirua?: Inughuit abduction and Indigenous map making

In 1850 an expedition was dispatched by the British Admiralty in search of the missing ships Erebus and Terror. While travelling along the North Greenlandic coastline, the officers of this expedition came into contact with members of the Inughuit community. During this encounter, an Inuk named Kallihirua was persuaded to join the expedition in order to assist the travellers as they continued the search for their missing compatriots. As part of this assistance, Kallihirua was asked to draw a map that would help to guide the ships along the Greenlandic coast. Following the (unsuccessful) completion of the expedition, this map was reproduced and was later included in a guide on ‘Arctic Geography and Ethnology’ that was published by the Royal Geographical Society and presented to George Nares in preparation for his subsequent 1875–76 Arctic expedition.

Drawing on recent literature exploring the concept of indigenous mapping, this paper will examine the troubling circumstances that surrounded this intriguing ‘cartographic encounter.’ It will study the problematic events which led to the drawing of these two maps and will consider the ways in which they were subsequently presented and circulated. It will also reflect upon the extent to which historical indigenous cosmologies were commensurate with non-indigenous cartographic traditions. The paper will therefore conclude by arguing that while Kallihirua certainly did contribute various types of geographical knowledge during this expedition, to label him as the sole author of these maps would be a problematic act of ‘cartographic ventriloquism’. 


Peter Martin is a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Bye-Fellow in Geography at the University of Cambridge. He is currently working on the European Research Council funded Arctic Cultures project which is based at the Scott Polar Research Institute. His research focuses on the historical geographies of Arctic exploration and is influenced by a range of literatures including critical exploration studies, histories of science, postcolonial studies and intellectual history. Peter joined the project following the completion of his PhD research which was conducted as part of an AHRC collaborative doctoral award between the University of Oxford and the RGS-IBG.


Santiago Muñoz-Arbeláez, University of Connecticut

Indigenous vassals. Don Diego de Torre’s maps of the New Kingdom of Granada, 1580’s

In the 1580s, Don Diego de la Torre, the ruler of a Muisca-speaking chiefdom in the northern Andes called Turmequé, personally delivered two hand-drawn maps and a written description of the New Kingdom of Granada to King Philip II. De la Torre belonged to that category of mixed people that the Spanish had begun to refer to as a “mestizo”: he was the son of a Muisca noblewoman called Catalina, the oldest sister of the native chief of Turmequé, and Juan de Torres, a prestigious conquistador and encomendero. According to Muisca inheritance patterns, de la Torre was heir to his uncle’s chiefdom, while he was also the son of the encomendero of his community. The officers of the Audiencia of Santa Fe deemed him a dangerous character, described him as an able horse-rider (a European skill) and loquacious in Indigenous languages, and removed him from the chiefdom. As a consequence, de la Torre fled the kingdom to the Court in Madrid to inform Philip II of the many ills of the administration of the New Kingdom of Granada. Don Diego de la Torre left the largest intellectual production of any Indigenous person of the northern Andes in the early modern period. He depicted the kingdom in word and image and Hispanic judges recorded hundreds of testimonies about his actions, behaviors, and intentions. This talk will focus on de la Torre’s maps, suggesting there was an elaborate political agenda behind his visual rendering of the Andes. 


Santiago Muñoz-Arbeláez is assistant professor of History and Spanish at the University of Connecticut. He received a Ph.D. in Latin American History from Yale University in 2018. He is the cofounder of Neogranadina—a Colombian non-profit organization devoted to making digitization and digital tools available to local archives and community groups in Latin America—and the editor in chief of Historia Crítica. His research and teaching focus on Indians and empires in the early modern Atlantic world. He is the author of Costumbres en disputa. Los muiscas y el imperio español en Ubaque, siglo XVI (Bogotá: Ediciones Uniandes, 2016), which received honorable mention in Colombia’s National History Award. In 2021 he launched his bilingual digital humanities project Colonial Landscapes: Redrawing Andean Territories in the 17th Century.



Takerei Norton, Kā Huru Manu

Kā Huru Manu: My names are the treasured cloak which adorns the land

Kā Huru Manu is a digital atlas dedicated to recording and mapping the traditional Māori place names and associated histories of the Ngāi Tahu tribe. Ngāi Tahu is a Māori iwi (tribe) that covers approximately 80% of Te Waipounamu (the South Island of New Zealand). The online atlas has been compiled together by the Ngāi Tahu Archive, tribal communities and kaumātua (elders) over the last fifteen years, and is based on the work of previous generations. The digital atlas includes 1200 traditional Māori place names, the traditional Māori travel routes, and the original Māori reserves allocated within the Ngāi Tahu region. Kā Huru Manu is making this traditional knowledge readily accessible to Ngāi Tahu families and the wider public for the first time. In 2018 the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa - New Zealand’s national place naming authority - acknowledged Kā Huru Manu as an authoritative publication based on Ngāi Tahu having systematically and methodically identified, collected, and verified our traditional place names. Kā Huru Manu has also become an important educational resource used by schools to teach local Ngāi Tahu history and place names, and is an integral component of the Ngāi Tahu archival search engine making Ngāi Tahu knowledge accessible to Ngāi Tahu families.


Takerei Norton (Ngāi Tahu) is the manager of the Ngāi Tahu Archive Team. Takerei worked as an Environmental Advisor for Ngāi Tahu for nearly ten years protecting sites of cultural significance.  Since 2007 he has headed Kā Huru Manu recording traditional Ngāi Tahu knowledge on the tribal Geographical Information System (GIS). Takerei was also co-editor of Tāngata Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu published in 2017 that was longlisted for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and was part of the archive team that produced Kareao – the online Ngāi Tahu digital archive


André Reyes Novaes, Rio de Janeiro State University

Indigenous maps in the historiography of Brazilian explorations

The study of Indigenous Maps prompted fundamental questions for map history. The definitions and categories used to approach these artefacts could express different frameworks to understand cartography and exploration. Addressing the history of approaches to the definition of ‘indigenous maps’, this paper explores a set of documents debated by Brazilian and Portuguese scholars during the 1940s and the 1950s. In the historiography of Brazilian explorations, Indigenous knowledge was often highlighted as a fundamental source of techniques to provide food, shelter, guidance and displacement. However, the indigenous contribution to mapping techniques and representational practices raised controversies among some scholars, considering the challenge of defining precise borders between what is western and what is indigenous. Many of these controversies concerned the Portuguese scholar Jaime Cortesão and the Brazilian historian Sérgio Buarque de Holanda. Living in Brazil since 1940, Jaime Cortesão was hired by the National Library of Rio de Janeiro in 1946. His main task was to comment on the Angelis collection, a group of 1.533 documents and maps sold by the Italian-born politician Pedro De Angelis for the Brazilian Emperor Pedro II in 1853. By exploring these documents, Jaime Cortesão found traces of indigenous participation in mapping practices at the Brazilian borders, and his findings were presented in speeches, books, and newspaper articles. The Brazilian historian Sérgio Buarque de Holanda became one of the main interlocutors of Cortesão, debating the category 'indigenous maps' also using the Angelis collection. By revisiting documents from the National Library of Rio de Janeiro that stimulated debates on 'indigenous maps', this paper approaches the history of this category, searching for insights to define indigenous maps as hybrid images and artefacts of encounters. 



André Reyes Novaes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Geography at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is currently an Honorary Research Associate at the Royal Holloway University of London and a member of the Commission on the History of Geography of the International Geographical Union.




Tania Wolfgramm, GRID Pacific

TE HĀ Moana – Mapping Ocean Voices

For millennia, our ancestors, known as ‘Kaivai’ (literally ‘eaters of water’), traversed thousands of miles across ‘te moana’ (the ocean) creating and following star charts, comprehensive ocean maps that included named passages, trenches, channels, reefs, and seamounts, and flight and migration pathways of sea and bird life.

The fact that all of our Polynesian cultures and languages have strong commonalities is a testament to our skill as native scientists, way finders, and seafarers. Star systems and diverse environmental phenomena were mapped and recorded with extensive lexicons, creative symbologies, and sophisticated technologies that reflect the worldviews and values of our cultures.

GRID Pacific (Global Reach Initiative & Development) seeks to ‘sail in the wake’ of our ancestors, extending the mapping of our islands into other dimensions. GRID Pacific are working in partnership with Google and local communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Kingdom of Tonga, Rarotonga, Tahiti, and Rapanui to record panoramic, high-resolution, 3D imagery, including ‘Street View’ that is linked to GPS data that can be accessed through Google Earth and Google Maps.  

Our children and grandchildren are digital natives, and they have an expectation that the world is mapped, that they can take a virtual drive down any street, visit interesting sites, look, and learn and speed, and shop on-line 24/7. GRID Pacific supports a future for our Pacific and Indigenous youth that lives up to their expectations while keeping them grounded in strong cultural legacies and knowledge systems. 

Combining the latest in digital innovation and VR technology, we create multisensory ‘being there’ digital experiences and linguistic adventures that can ‘hakamana’ (empower) our families, tribes, and nations; that awaken and strengthen their relationships to nature and to each other across ‘ta’ (time) and ‘va’ (space). Using Google Earth, we can now take virtual language journeys around the Pacific from Aotearoa in the South, Hawaii in the North, and Rapanui in the East. Let’s go!


Tania Wolfgramm is the Executive Director of the GRID Pacific. Her father Tevita Wolfgramm is of Ha’a Lavaki, Tapueluelu; descendants of ‘Ulukalala, Tu’i Vava’u of the Kingdom of Tonga. Her mother is Whakatohea and Te Aupouri of the tribes of Aotearoa New Zealand. A cultural psychologist, systems designer, strategist, technologist, voyager and storyteller, Tania is the founder of the HAKAMANA System of Transformative Design which has been applied across health, education, creative, and technology sectors in many countries.

Tania is also the founder of GRID Pacific, who aims to support the vision and heritage of Pacific nations, while helping them to showcase the beauty and charisma of their cultures, landscapes, oceans, and people to the world with amazing mapping and VR technologies.

Working with Google Maps and Street View, she has been recording panoramic, high-res, 3D imagery in Aotearoa, Tonga, Rarotonga, and Rapanui in recent years that have been processed and published globally. She has also developed ten Pacific language layers that are mapped into Google Earth Indigenous Languages Layer. 

An advocate of Indigenous technological sovereignty, Tania seeks to embed and imbue Pacific values of Aroha (love), Pono (goodness), and Rangimarie (peace) into GRID Pacific’s traditional and technological experiences.”