Today, we want to acknowledge the hard work of Steve DeRoy and others who are behind Google’s announcement that Google Maps and Google Earth have added a significant portion of Indigenous territories and reserve boundaries to their base maps; more than 3,000 reserve lands and settlement lands have been added through this project that kicked off seven years ago. Making indigenous lands and waters visible and part of the landscape is critical for recognition and reconciliation. Firelight Director and Anishinaabe cartographer Steve DeRoy comments:
“Indigenous peoples in Canada have been relying upon current and accurate mapping information provided through Google’s suite of GeoTools. Unfortunately, Indigenous peoples are often underrepresented on Canadian base maps, and this was made apparent during our annual Indigenous Mapping Workshops. We are thrilled to see Google recognize Indigenous peoples by integrating Indigenous lands as an important fabric of Google’s base maps.”
It is through the hard work of indigenous communities that we are now slowly seeing change in the way Canadians see, understand and engage with Indigenous rights and histories. Firelight is proud to be a small part of this and to continue to support communities on the issues that matter to them in areas like cultural mapping, health, socio-economics, ecology, and governance—and to support more recognition of the rights and interests of Indigenous communities on maps and beyond. Happy National Aboriginal Day!