A list of Papers and Journal Articles related to Aboriginal Mapping. Please contact us if you know of, or would like to submit, a paper.

PLEASE NOTE: The Aboriginal Mapping Network is not promoting any of the following authors or their work.The intent of this page is to provide an overview of some of the available written materials.

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Co-management of Aboriginal Resources

by Tracy Campbell
Professional Associate, Arctic Institute of North America

[from Information North, Vol 22, no.1 (March 1996), Arctic Institute of North America.]


The Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by First Nations

by Benjamin D. Johnson
School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia
© 1997


First Nations are taking an increasingly active stance in the governance and management of their traditional territories. The Canadian aboriginal population is articulating a desire to re-acquire lands amounting to over half of the national territorial base through formal land claims processes, while bands, communities and nations are taking steps to manage resources on their traditional lands. The development of First Nations governments as self-sustaining political institutions is heavily dependent on the resolution of these two issues: land claims settlement and management of local resources (Makokis and Buckley, 1991). Land claims and resource management planning are activities involving the acquisition, manipulation and analysis of data that has a fundamental spatial component. For example, land claims are predicated on the formal identification of places of traditional occupancy and use by those undertaking the claim.

Geographic information systems (GIS) are a computerized means to consolidate and analyse spatially-referenced data. What separates GIS from a traditional digital database is this geographical component wherein all data are explicitly assigned a real-world location, allowing the integration of diverse data types and complex topological analyses (buffering, overlays). GIS is a powerful planning tool for helping resolve problems with a strong spatial component.

First Nations have applied GIS technology extensively to planning applications and are proving to be one of the fastest-growing new user groups of GIS. The intention of this paper is to explore the secondary sources concerning First Nations present use of GIS. It will begin with a brief introduction to GIS technology, followed by a discussion of the relevance of GIS to the First Nations context. Problems in reconciling traditional spatial knowledge with a digital information system predicated on European cartographic concepts will be discussed, followed by a look at real-life applications of GIS, exploring the nature of projects undertaken throughout North America. Finally, the complexities of implementing a GIS in the unique First Nations context will be discussed.


The Role of GIS in Integrated Resource Management for First Nations Initiatives in Alberta

By Ralph Makokis and David Buckley


A Culturally Relevant Solution for the Implementation of Geographic Information Systems in Indian Country

Bryan A. Marozas
GIS Coordinator, Bureau of Indian Affairs

Many Indian tribes have been exposed to the benefits of automated spatial data and how a Geographic Information System (GIS) can be used for the protection and management of resources. Despite the efforts of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), tribal use of GIS technology is minimal. Reversal of this situation requires multiple solutions. This paper identifies one solution which will stimulate tribal interest, acceptance and commitment to GIS technology. The solution calls for the development of culturally significant GIS databases and applications.

BIA, tribal official, and consultants should seriously consider the proposed solution since funding for the GIS effort is continually decreasing. A consequence of the lack of federal funding is that the responsibility for the development and maintenance of spatial databases will be in the hands of the tribes. Therefore, any tribe considering effective management of their resources in the future should take an earnest interest in the abilities of the GIS today. Hopefully, the solution identified in this paper will provide an avenue for increasing tribal use of Geographic Information Systems.

For more informaiton, please contact:

Bryan A. Marozas
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Albuquerque Area Office
Branch of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 26567
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87125-6567