Through the Eyes of Hunter-Gatherers: participatory 3D modelling among Ogiek indigenous peoples in Kenya

Giacomo Rambaldi, Julius Muchemi, Nigel Crawhall and  Laura Monaci


Describes a participatory process by which Ogiek indigenous people in the Mau Forest Complex in Kenya rendered their spatial memories through the making of a georeferenced three dimensional model covering part of their ancestral territory. The paper focuses on the course of action and related human dynamics which led to the production of the map legend via deep reflections and intense negotiations among elders of different clans. The 3D mapmaking process proved to be a catalyst in stimulating memory, articulating tacit knowledge and creating visible and tangible representations of the physical, biological and cultural landscapes of the area in the 1920s. Elaborating and negotiating agreement on the elements of the map legend allowed the participants to gain greater clarity on meanings and relationships between natural and cultural features. Once completed, the model selectively displayed both the tangible and the intangible heritage of the Ogiek people. The composition of the legend and the making of the model stimulated collegial learning and community cohesion. The process has been perceived as a milestone for Ogiek clans in terms of working together towards a common goal, and in realizing the value and potential authority of their spatial knowledge once it was collated, georeferenced, documented and visualized.

Information Development, Vol. 23, No. 2-3, 113-128 (2007)

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