Include Indian Reservations (Communities, Rancherias, Pueblos) as Places

Thanks for bringing this to our attention! We’ll take a look at the files and figure out a plan. We do unfortunately have a bit of backlog for GIS-related things that need to be done by staff, but maybe we can tackle them together.

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That’s awesome, Carrie. Thank you for acknowledging this issue and looking into solutions. I understand things can take time :relaxed: :leaves:

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I was referring to this:

I just used the arboretum as an example, because (as you state) reserves are not available places :)

While recognizing and honoring the good intention of this request, I strongly encourage admins to consult with First and Tribal nations and get their input on establishing their reservation boundaries on iNat. Land acknowledgement on a GIS platform requires more than creating a standard place. Using input from the federal government as a proxy for input from individual tribal nations may be expedient but it’s problematic.

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@anneclewis as with the original poster, I would recommend contacting the admins directly at help@inaturalist.org with your specific suggestions and concerns on this topic.

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Well… having just scrolled all the way through the Feature Requests forum, until there was no more scrolling, I’m bringing this one back up.

So many of the Feature Requests on here appear to be thinly veiled attempts to enforce one’s own preferred way of using iNaturalist for everyone. This one isn’t. This one is a legitimate issue of erasure of indigenous peoples. Considering that indigenous lands harbor a disporoportionate share of biodiversity, and that indigenous peoples have been shown to have better overall conservation outcomes, understanding where these lands are is important to understanding the whole picture.

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I see plenty of value in what @anneclewis posted and I think it holds as much place here as in the inbox of a busy admin.

I still (2years later) think we all have a little bit to learn about the subject being discussed.

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yes i want to echo that too. I think inviting indigenous groups to participate in iNat in an established way makes sense, but trying on our own to guess what place boundaries, species names, etc they might want here, without their input, feels like appropriation and not helpful.

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I’m not sure that the use of “Indian” to describe indigenous / first nations people is settled or monolithic, at least given these two groups nearby me, where “Indian” is officially in their naming:

It could just be a legal holdover. I’ve seen this topic discussed recently here too:

As a basic white-guy, however, I won’t take the thorny position that it’s okay to keep using “Indian” to describe people who aren’t from India. Obviously, if it’s distressing to someone, especially given the history, why choose harm?

Totally agree. At the time (2+ years ago) I was suggesting direct contact with staff in addition to discussing here, since things can sometimes get lost in the Forum.

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In the time since the OP, I’ve presented about iNat on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. I have found the iNat tools that are of the most interest are those that protect data sovereignty, i.e. being able to make projects and observations private, obscuring geographic locations, and providing copyrights on images. Plants and sometimes animals often have important cultural significance and I’ve come across projects set up by Native people who would like to document them for their own or their community’s use but that doesn’t mean they want the info out there for the world.

In my somewhat limited experience, iNat is one of the better cit sci platforms for data sovereignty. I’m wondering what else could be done?

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Asking curators to set your listed species to obscured in those places?

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The other side of the coin is that for conservation puposes, the places where they actually have official recognition are the places where they can most directly implement their conservation policies.

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I live in an area with many tribal lands and governments and while I do almost no biological surveying on these lands, on occasion I’ve been able to get photos of wildlife within those lands. In general I opt not to post those on iNat to avoid possible complications with my job. Publicly releasing location data can be a sensitive issue for many tribes, not to mention taking photos in certain areas on tribal lands.

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I should add that every tribe/Pueblo is different in its policies, culture, sensitivities, etc. What might be a non-issue for one could be important to another. Each is a sovereign entity. So any approach by iNat in terms of data can’t be a one size fits all.

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The Navajo Nation has their own list of rare plants that I believe is unique to reservations in our area given the relatively large amount of land. One of the things I enjoy most about New Mexico is diversity of culture.

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and also a Natural Heritage program same as many states and other entities.
https://www.nndfw.org/nnhp/nnhp_home.htm

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Not to mention their own National Park – I’ll use that term in recognition of them as a Nation.

Chaco?

I was thinking of Monument Valley. But on that website, you can see from the dropdoewn that there are actually five such parks.