How do we talk about Indigenous knowledge in a non-Indigenous language, without losing the structure (and thus meaning) of that knowledge? How do retain situated meanings when we re-situate them elsewhere? I explore these questions in the context of a three-year collaboration with Penobscot Cultural & Historic Preservation Department to map the traditional place names of Penobscot territory. I begin with an overview of the project and the design explorations that led to the final map. I give particular attention to the role of translation as a tool for expressing the map’s linguistic, social, cultural, and cartographic responsibilities, and the role of imagination and embodiment as essential, dynamic components of the map. I then connect this project to similar cartographic practices in other Native communities and re-frame the judgements of simple and wayfinding as they have been used against Native map traditions. Whether you are a cartographer or not, my hope is that you will begin to see our responsibilities to translate situatedness across
culture and time with care.
Friday, November 21st in 180 Science Hall at 3:30pm