An inaugural event organized by the R.H. Mallory Center for Community Geography and the Center for the Southwest will bring some of the leading experts in Indigenous Cartographies together to initiate important conversations in critical cartography.
Led by the director of the R.H. Mallory Center for Community Geography, Maria Lane, and the director of the Center for the Southwest, Sam Truett, the Indigenous Cartographies @ UNM Symposium is open to everyone in order to initiate thoughtful dialogue about the representation of Indigenous histories in mapping.
“Our main goal for Indigenous Cartographies @UNM is to get people excited about critical cartography and foster intellectual exchange,” said Lane. “Indigenous cartographers and communities have been at the forefront of recent innovations in critical cartography, and we wanted to create an event where we could learn from thinkers and practitioners about their projects and ideas.”
Critical cartography is rooted in critical theory and originates from an argument that maps can be interpreted as expressions of power and knowledge. Experts within the field weave social and scientific questions into their mapping practice, often using Geographic Information Science to explore questions in the subdiscipline of “critical geography.”
To advance these conversations, the symposium will provide several events that focus on teaching, research, and community engagement. At an open classroom session, attendees will have the opportunity to join Lane’s cartography class for the day and learn about the power of maps through topics such as participatory mapping, countermapping, and data sovereignty.
A panel session will bring a broad range of experts to campus in order to share their knowledge, projects, and ideas with attendees. They are Christine Ami from Diné College, Deana Dartt with Live Oak Consulting, Rudo Kemper from TerraStories and Native Land Digital, Annita Lucchesi from the University of Arizona, and Reuben Rose-Redwood from the University of Victoria.
“I am so excited to bring this diverse group to UNM to spur our thinking about mapping as storytelling, as activism, and as justice work,” said Lane.
As part of the research goal of this event, panelists will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the “Native Trails Project” at UNM, which is funded by the National Park Service in collaboration with UNM’s on-campus National Trails office.
This project uses historical methods and geovisualization to highlight Indigenous histories that are too often excluded from national trails mapping. Specifically, the project at UNM is reconceptualizing the area of the Old Spanish Trail in order to bring Indigenous trade networks and cross-community relations to light.
Geography & Environmental Studies launched a new course for critical cartography in the Spring of 2021, while the Center for Community Geography has supported projects and research that utilize cartography in order to focus on local and community issues.
The primary host and sponsor for the event is the R.H. Mallory Center for Community Geography but also includes support from the Center for the Southwest, the Center for Regional Studies, the Institute for American Indian Research (IFAIR), the College of Arts & Sciences Research Office, UNM Libraries, the Department of History, the Community and Regional Planning Program, the Department of Anthropology, the Sustainability Studies Program, the Department of American Studies and the Office of the Vice President for Research.
Lloyd Lee, director of the Center for Regional Studies, expressed his pride at being able to support the event. "The Center for Regional Studies (CRS) is honored to support the inaugural Indigenous Cartographies at UNM symposium. The CRS mission is to promote the quest for knowledge about New Mexico and the Southwest through research, education, learning and related scholarly activities,” Lee said. “CRS advances UNM's mission of developing a global perspective through a variety of academic and research opportunities as individuals work to generate and disseminate new and valuable sources of knowledge. CRS is excited this symposium will center on Indigenous histories and mapping."
Indigenous Cartographies @ UNM will be held on-campus Feb. 27-28. All events are free and open to the public, with no registration required.
For more information, go to communitygeography.unm.edu.