About Us

Inaugural workshop participants

Collective Members: Aldegundo Gonzalez Alvarez,Amanda, deGray, Anja Novkovic, Annie Lalancette, Annita Lucchesi, Anthony, Georgekish, Benoit Ethier, Brian Thom, Christian Coocoo, Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, Denis Wood, Emory Shaw, Genevieve Reid, Gerald Ottawa, Iokiñe Rodriguez, Darrin Jensin, José Alavez, Josie Auger, Justine Gagnon, Leah Temper, Lena Weber, Mace Marion, Melanie Chaplier, Miguel Melin Pehuen, Molly Roy, Nafisa Sarwath, Pablo Mansilla Quiñones, Pedro Nola Flores, Philip Rekacewicz, Sébastien Caquard, Steve DeRoy, Tom McGurk, and Tracey Osborne Steering Committee Members: Annita Lucchesi, Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, Leah Temper, Sébastien Caquard, and Tom McGurk and Heather Elliott

Our Story

MappingBack was born in October 2017 with the organization of a three-day workshop in Montreal. This workshop enquired into forms of cartographic expressions that can represent the multiple issues, perceptions, meanings, histories and emotions that are at stake when industrial extraction enters Indigenous territories. It also explored how maps could be used for purposes of resistance and resurgence, including for education, historical memory and ancestral knowledge and oral histories, assertions of territorial rights and community visioning and life-plans, and decision-making. This workshop was seen as a foundation to develop the online Indigenous mapping platform that you are now visiting. The goal of this platform is to support the emergence of new ideas and methodologies designed by and with Indigenous communities to represent in meaningful ways the multiple dimensions of extractivism.

The goal of the MappingBack Network is to provide mapping capacity and support to members of Indigenous communities fighting extractive industries. Mapping has long been used as a tool for colonial dispossession; MappingBack seeks to reverse this by using mapping as a tool to fight back. Our understanding of extractivism is extensive, and ranges from forms of natural resource extraction to the systemic extraction of living entities, such as human beings, animals and plants, from Indigenous territories. Our understanding of mapping capacity and support is also broad and is directly dependent on the skills of the members of this ever-expanding network. At the moment, these skills include Indigenous ways of mapping, geospatial technologies (e.g. Geographic Information Systems, satellite images analysis), web design, participatory mapping experience and the organization of alternative mapping workshops.

The MappingBack Network is open to anyone involved in Indigenous mapping, including but not limited to activists, communities, researchers and cartographers. If you want to join us and are willing to share a bit of your time and experience, please complete this form.The MappingBack Network is also here to support projects and people wanting to use any form of mapping to address any issues related to extractivism. To connect with others who have skills and resources to offer, check out our resource network map.