Indigenous Communities Resist Extractive Industries Through Maps

It makes sense for businesses to use map illustration as marketing tool. After all, illustrated maps are visually appealing and artistically created to gain the attention of viewers. The illustrated map is crafted from a favorable vantage point to present a community, campus or facility. It can also capture a moment in time that will be very interesting to the viewer.

Industrial extraction of natural resources has threatened indigenous tribes across America in the 21st century. Industries like timber and pulp extraction, mining, oil and gas and development of hydroelectric have serious implications towards the survival of indigenous communities. However, a project called Mapping Back expects that mapping will be the weapon that will resist the extractive industries.

The use of maps and cartographic illustrations has a long history in claiming indigenous properties in different countries and governments. Since 1990, indigenous communities have used maps that include historical memories and ancestral knowledge in asserting their territorial rights. The communities usually work with multiple players to launch different mapping projects to reclaim ownership of multiple portions of territories.

The mapping projects range from low-tech community mapping approaches to the use of the latest technologies in online mapping. However, academicians have been vocal about their criticism of cartographic practices because of the inferiority of the indigenous spatial world views to the modern technologies of the Western world.

There are dominant mapping representations and conventional processes that present different ideas of the world. Indigenous people consider the diverse range of territories as their homelands since the beginning of time. These spaces where they can find their living relations are their refuge away from the violence and pressures of settlers.

Mapping Back will support the indigenous perspective of their territories and resources using spatial representations. There are individuals who have expertise in mapping who are willing to contribute their efforts to the mapping project.

If you have not had the opportunity to view a map illustration, it is a bird’s eye view map of a certain territory that has been created artistically. Map illustrations are centuries-old tradition that features different topics ranging from historical events, landscape features, landmarks, legendary figures to sailing ships.

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