Mapping the Unmappable

Project Study Area. This map represents a small section of 22 Hul’q’umi’num’ place names in and around two of the Stz’uminus First Nation’s on-reserve communities, Oyster Bay IR12 and Chemainus IR13 (in grey).

Manny Sampson and Amy Becker review the consent form before his interview on March 13, 2015.

An interview with Delores Sampson Elliott (July 14, 2015) being edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.

The Mapping the Unmappable in Indigenous Digital Cartographies is a project that draws on a community-engaged digital-mapping project with Vancouver Island Coast Salish community of the Stz’uminus First Nation. 

In this project, Amy Becker discusses the ways in which conventional cartographic representations of Indigenous peoples are laden with methodological and visual assumptions that position Indigenous peoples’ perspectives, stories, and experiences within test-, proof-, and boundary-driven legal and Eurocentric contexts. In contrast, Becker frames this project’s methodology and digital mapping tools as an effort to map a depth of place, the emotional, spiritual, experiential, and kin-based cultural context that is routinely glossed over in conventional mapping practices. She argues that elders’ place-based stories, when recorded on video and embedded in a digital map, produce a space for the “unmappable,” that which cannot, or will not, be expressed within the constructs of a static two-dimensional map.