June is National Indigenous Heritage Month in Canada. This month we acknowledge and honour our First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.
In this installment, I’ll explore an amazing Canadian resource called the First Peoples’ Map.
Special shout out to Christian Miles (@cjlmiles on Twitter) for showing me this excellent visualization.
What is this viz?
The viz is called “The First Peoples’ Map of BC”.
It’s a map that geospatially displays cultural information about British Columbia’s First Nations Indigenous peoples. Subject areas include languages, arts, and important sites.
Who made this viz?
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council, who is responsible for administering the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language, and Culture Program in British Columbia. It was made in consultation with First Nations communities all over BC.
What are some of the interesting functions of this viz?
- Click on any part of the map to discover the Indigenous language spoken in the area. Pronunciations sampled from native speakers are presented.
- An “Add to the Map” button enables crowdsourcing of Indigenous geospatial information, like the locations of artwork.
- An “Order Maps” link in the menu to download PDFs to print physical maps – or you can order printed maps through the link
What does this viz do?
Karen Aird, acting CEO of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, says this about the viz:
Where do I find this viz?
Why is this viz important?
People say you can learn a lot by walking a mile in someone’s shoes. What happens if you have a pair of shoes that you want someone to try walking a mile in, but that mile, while enriching and fulfilling, is fraught with duress and oppression?
In British Columbia, and indeed the whole of Canada, the topic of Indigenous rights seems overwhelming. I identify as a settler – and I want to have that conversation. But it’s hard to know where to start.
That’s where the First Peoples’ Map fits into the picture. It was created in consultation with First Nations’ people in BC, to help people like me to become more aware of the languages, culture, and arts of the First Nations’ around me. The idea is: if you’re going to start on the Indigenous rights topic, start at the beginning, then walk the mile.
So what’s the destination? Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a state of healing. Indigenous peoples have been the subject of atrocities like being separated from their families, their land, and culture. Reconciliation is also an act. One to be taken by the people who call this land home. Like me.
Having an awareness of the Indigenous perspective acts as a small step forward. And sometimes, all it takes is for someone to take that first step. I see The First Peoples’ Map as an invitation to take mine.
Where can I find more?
What does what reconciliation mean to you? Why not post it in a Reply below. Or look for me ion Twitter (@pearlelundeen) If you’re not sure where to start, have a look at more resources on Indigenous peoples in Canada and reconciliation, at: https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca/section/truth-and-reconciliation/
Again, special thanks to Christian Miles. Check out his newsletter – he geeks out on graphs on the bi-weekly (fortnightly?): sourcetarget.email