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Aboriginal Mapping Network
Alex Steffen, 3 Nov 03

Indigenous people around the world have numerous disadvantages when they try to resist the enroachments of outside governments and corporations. Not the least of these is technical: they often can't precisely show what land is theirs, how they conceive of their ownership of it and how their sacred sites and the natural systems upon which they depend would be impacted by industrial exploitation. Showing these things is an ideal use of GIS technology, but where are they going to get their hands on that?

Enter the Aboriginal Mapping Network. AMN is a joint effort on the part of several Canadian First Nations and Ecotrust Canada to create "a collection of resource pages for First Nation mappers who are looking for answers to common questions regarding mapping, information management and GIS." They provide indigenous peoples planetwide with technical mapping support (including GIS data sources and publications detailing best practices), training resources, and access to funders. It's one stop shopping for native peoples looking to map their worlds as a way of preserving them.

And in case you're wondering about the scope of the problems indigenous people face today, they've also published for free download a world map of globalization's effects on indigenous peoples. It's not a complex map - small icons represent hotspots where logging, biopiracy, drug interdiction, even tourism are significantly disrupting a traditional cutlure, and notes surround the map detailing flashpoints between global and indigenous - but it's a lense on the world we don't often get to see through.

(from the excellent Social Design Notes site)

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