“Historically, cartography and maps have been used as an instrument of colonization which has been severely detrimental to adequate representation of Indigenous peoples. Oftentimes, Indigenous peoples and communities are left out of any conversation where consultation should be factored in,” states Kiana Estate-Gashytewa (Zuni/Hopi). Knowing this and working to create spaces that uplift and value Indigenous voices, the Indigenous Mapping and Research Project launched in January 2022.
Through the project, the Partnership for the National Trails System, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, and other partners are developing basic resources to help Federal agencies that administer National Trails and their nonprofit trail organization partners advance National Trails System knowledge of Ancestral Lands and help them increase partnerships and collaboration with Indigenous Communities along National Scenic and Historic Trails (NSHT).
Led by Project Coordinator, Kiana Etsate-Gashytewa, a toolkit and a publicly accessible map will be created in 2022. The map will be an interactive GIS map that will overlay Indigenous territories and languages with the National Trails System map. The toolkit will be a collection of data that will provide resources for Trail Administrators or Managers, staff, and partners to collaborate with local tribes through meaningful materials. The database will compile the resources, contacts, and documents from the project.
PNTS and its Federal agency partners are developing webinars to complement the project such as an overview of the history of related laws and the difference between Tribal consultation and engagement with Indigenous communities or Tribal nations.