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

Nicole Sault
Email address: 
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?