Mapping Resources and Cultural Sites: Purposes, Benefits, and Challenges

David Hecht
Proposal Type: 
25 min prerecorded session - see below for format options
Session Date and Time: 
Wednesday, 12 May, 2021 - 12:45 to 14:00

The language of mapping “resources” often involves monetizing what is biological and cultural patrimony. This monetary orientation influences how maps are constructed, what is represented, and how maps are used. Within an oral tradition, maps are created through story and song as well as visual representations, in contrast to literary traditions. This change in constructing maps means that control over information changes, for what was once local knowledge transmitted orally then becomes accessible to outsiders with no personal and spiritual connection to place. Under these new circumstances, land, water, minerals, forests, wildlife, and ceremonial sites take on different meanings. What are the local meanings of maps? When maps are created by outsiders the purpose varies according to whether this is this done in consultation with local communities, or initiated by local communities for documenting land claims and protecting sovereignty. New technologies have raised issues around the implications of drones, satellites, and restrictions at international borders. In these new contexts, what protections can be employed by local communities to secure the information that is gathered and control both access and distribution?

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
Alcantara Salinas
, Graciela - College of Postgraduates-Research Associate
, Eugene S. - University of Washington

Biodiversity conservation conventions value biodiversity for its own sake, singling out species vulnerable to extinction. We argue that cultural recognition of biodiversity within Indigenous rural communities is as important to conserve biodiversity as strictly biological considerations. We combine these perspectives with a focus on avifauna. We summarize ethno-ornithological studies of nine Indigenous communities from northwestern Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula. Each community occupies a fraction of the Mexican national territory and each might encounter a fraction of the 900-odd birds of regular occurrence in Mexico, in our sample, 200-270 species. Cultural recognition first requires naming. In our case studies, 87-150 distinct bird names are recorded per community. We further rate cultural recognition with respect to material and/or immaterial “uses.”. We compare which birds are most often recognized culturally across our sample of Indigenous communities. Finally, we consider the correlation between strictly biological indices of vulnerability with cultural recognition.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Steven M. - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
, Christine - University of Toronto
, Nicole - University of Toronto
, Danika - Carleton University

"Ethical space” – first articulated by Cree philosopher Willie Ermine – is a promising framework for working across multiple ways of knowing. We build upon the growing theoretical and empirical work that has been done regarding ethical space in the context of decision-making, with a focus on research and monitoring. We present the results of a meta-analysis of 62 published case studies that aimed to bridge Indigenous science and Western science in aquatic research and monitoring in Canada. Based on a systematic map and in-depth qualitative analysis, we analyzed how levels of Indigenous participation and quality of participation varied in research implementation and identified 11 exemplar case studies. This cluster of case studies provides useful guidance on how to create and maintain an ethical space of engagement for bridging multiple ways of knowing. Our study also makes recommendations on how to improve research practices to achieve more meaningful and dialogical ethical spaces.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, David - University of Georgia

At the intersection of Tibetan Buddhism and indigenous ‘Bon’ animism in the Eastern Himalayas, complex spiritual and spatial ontologies exist between protective territorial deities (gnas bdag gzhi bdag, yul lha) and the communities that propitiate them. In Bhutan, a suite of local deities and non-human spirits are known to occupy territory, in forests, cliffs, trees, lakes, and springs, mediating relationships between people and their environments. Different local deity classes occupy and exhibit agency within a territory, areas described as “the deity’s palace” or “citadel of the deity” (pho brang). Such spatial ontologies inevitably intersect with the politics of conservation and development. While characteristics of gnas bdag gzhi bdag are historically documented in religious texts, there have been relatively few efforts to document this knowledge with community practitioners. Moreover, even fewer efforts to map deity citadels in a participatory capacity exist, precluding richer geographical understanding of their relational complexities, protected status, spatiality, and territoriality.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, Juliane - Brown University

The talk will look at three case studies from New England, showing how rivers and water bodies channeled human interactions of settler colonialism and created temporal and spatial defined resource extraction hierarchies. Using pollen data, archeological findings, and historical sources, the talk will discuss shifts in Abenaki and settler interactions with their local waterbodies tied to changes in the local colonial society and its consequences on the wider ecosystem of the region. Comparing three regions from different biomes in New England, the talk will highlight that any hydrological history of Abenaki people and settler colonialism encompasses the need to understand geographic features in light of long-term factures in socio-ecological relationships and its environmental consequences.

Presentation format: 
Oral (pre-recorded)
, Nevena - The Institute of Heritage Sciences INCIPIT CSIC, UPV-EHU

Tracing back ethnobotanical knowledge to the protection of nature through tradition, the paper looks at local knowledge and the use of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) in the area of Konitsa in Northern Epirus (Greece). This former agropastoral community belongs to the oak zone (Nitsiakos, 2016) and the Vikos-Aoos Geopark whose floristic value corresponds to 1/4 of the country’s plants. Salvia officinalis, Sideritis raeseri, Primula veris, Cistus incanus, and Orchis mascula appear to be among the species of the greatest knowledge and the frequency of use. Drawing on ethnobotany as the “science of survival” (Prance, 2007), and grounding ethnobotany in traditional knowledge and “experiential sustainability” (Nitsiakos, 2016), I test storytelling as affective practice (Nardi, 2016) through small personal stories and life-histories. By introducing the notion of ‛ethnobotanical emotions’, I argue that sounding out or mapping ethnobotanical narratives and associated affective practices can be a form of Emotional Mapping.

Presentation format: 
Oral (live)
, Gurunath - Ph. D Scholar, The Institute of Science, Mumbai
, Umesh - Associate Professor, The Institute of Science, Mumbai

The Indigenous people depend upon the plant based remedies. In the present study area the major indigenous communities viz. Thakur, Katkari, Warli,that have been engaged in such practices. Their knowledge and practices almost lacking in written communication. The present study area, Shahapur a tribal tehsil, is the northern part of Konkan region which is located at 19.45° North Latitude 73.33° East Longitude which includes the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. Present study is the result of intensive, systematic, Ethnobotanical exploration of Shahpur Tehsil, made during the period from June 2018 to Feb 2020. During the present investigation, observations were made to record the medicinal and edible plants used by the tribals. Total 61 plants species belonging to 36 different families of angiosperm are being used by them for ethnobotanical purposes. Among them some plants are commonly used for human as well as veterinary purposes. About 16 plants (26%) are specifically used for fodder and veterinary diseases.