You may have seen land acknowledgments on social media, where instead of geotagging a photo, posters identify the Indigenous people the land belongs to; or maybe you’ve heard a land acknowledgment presented at the beginning of a live concert or theatre performance (remember those?). Land acknowledgments help us better understand, reflect on, and celebrate the history of Indigenous peoples, languages, territories, and treaties. So how do you learn more about specific land and the people it belongs to?
Well, there’s an app for that. Native Land, a Canadian nonprofit, has mapped Indigenous territories across North America, South America, and parts of Europe and Asia. You can search by address, browse and zoom in on the map, or select specific territories, languages, or treaties.
There’s both a web version as well as apps for iOS and Android. On the app, use the “Map” section to search an address. Toggle the “Resources” icon on the bottom toolbar to search or browse territories, languages, and treaties. You’ll also see an external link next to each territory name, which redirects you to the Native Land website and additional resources for learning more about that tribe.
Another quick option is to text your city and state (format as “city, state”) to 1-907-312-5085 or to LandAcknowledgement on Facebook Messenger. You’ll get a response that tells you which Indigenous peoples’ land you’re on. This service uses an API that pulls data from Native Land as well as location information from the U.S. Geographic Names Information System and Geonames.
If you’re looking up this information for your own education, great. If you plan to publish or promote a land acknowledgment in any personal or professional capacity, use these guidelines from the Native Governance Centre to inform your research.