This week saw the second US Indigenous Peoples' Day, a day dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the histories and cultures of Indigenous Americans – as well as the hardship they have endured.
One initiative designed to educate the world about Indigenous peoples is Native Land Digital, a brilliant interactive globe that shows the Native territories, languages, and treaties of the world.
You can plug in any address and see which Indigenous community has a connection to that location. For instance, if you search the address of the White House in Washington DC, you’ll see it’s situated on land that was formerly inhabited by the Nacotchtank (Anacostan) people.
The map contains information from around the world, including detailed insights into North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Australasia, Nordic Europe, and parts of Asia.
Native Land Digital is a Canadian not-for-profit organization led by Indigenous people. Their aim is to inform and educate people about the history and sacredness of lands around the world. Through this, they hope to build stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, as well as “righting” some of the wrongs of history.
“For Native Land Digital, what we are mapping is more than just a flat picture. The land itself is sacred, and it is not easy to draw lines that divide it up into chunks that delineate who 'owns' different parts of land. In reality, we know that the land is not something to be exploited and 'owned', but something to be honored and treasured,” Native Land Digital explains in their mission statement.
“However, because of the complexities of history, the kind of mapping we undertake is an important exercise, insofar as it brings an awareness of the real lived history of Indigenous peoples and nations in a long era of colonialism.”
Native Land Digital acknowledges that its map isn’t perfect and remains a work in progress, but they’re happy to update the map with tips from users.