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(P17) Cultural maps and hunter-gatherers’ being in the world 

Convenor: Ute Dieckmann, Cologne University

Abstract: “Cultural” maps are produced with indigenous communities to protect cultural diversity. This session invites discussion about a) the value of cultural maps, b) the extent to which such maps rather reflect western ideas of the world, and c) alternative tools to reflect hunter-gatherers’ ways of being inthe world.

Keywords: cultural maps, perceptions of the environment, spatial representations, cultural heritage, land

Format: standard panel

Precirculated materials: yes

So-called "cultural maps" are generally produced with and for indigenous communities including hunting and gathering communities. Cultural maps are tools to promote and protect cultural diversity, they are aimed at empowering communities and strengthening identities and they are used in court (e.g. for land claims) (cf. UNSECO 2009). Often, they are produced with the assistance of anthropologists, linguists or archaeologists working with the respective communities.

However, maps themselves—although meant to be neutral visual representations of areas or regions (usually on a flat surface)—are rooted in specific historical contexts and human interactions with the environment. 

This session invites discussion about the extent to which cultural maps are able to get across what it means for hunter-gatherers to be in the world, i.e. their engagement and relationship with the environment.

We invite contributions that discuss opportunities and constraints of cultural maps for hunter-gatherers and that explore complementary or alternative ways (including other tools and media) to reflect hunter-gatherers’ relations to the environment. Possible questions include:

What are the tools or media used by hunter-gatherers themselves which represent their relations with the environment?

How can relations that humans might have with non-human beings (and issues around agency) be mirrored in cultural maps or alternative tools? 

How could spirits and ancestors be put “on stage” in these representations?

Are there ways to appropriately illustrate the integration of kinship, people, paths, and places?

Can time in general (and issues of weather, seasons and movement) be captured?


Putting Penan knowledge on the map: Making sense of Tana' Pengurip

Baptiste Laville, Bruno Manser Fonds, Switzerland. lakei.siman[a]
Joe Komeok, KERUAN, Malaysia. selungo[a]

Short abstract: Based on the Penan Community Maps (2017), the Eastern Penan concept Tana' Pengurip is, first, clarified and, second, compared to the Iban legally recognized concepts Pemakai Menoa and Pulau Galau.

Long abstract: The legal regime of Sarawak has never recognized any land rights for the Penan people arising from their traditional nomadic lifestyle. NCR or Native Customary Rights apply only to lands that people cleared and cultivated before 1957, which excludes virtually all Penans; only a handful of them had settled down and taken up farming before that date. 
Thus, it has been an uphill struggle for the Eastern Penan people to establish legal ownership or rights to land that they traditionally used solely for huntering and gathering.
In order to secure official recognition of their ownership over these non-agricultural lands, representatives of many different Eastern Penan communities, in collaboration with a foreign NGO, have attained a major scientific and cultural achievement: a series of 23 maps that cover most of the traditional Penan territories and which record the toponymy created by 63 different communites, along with details and locations of traditional land use, historical events, and the like. This body of data was 15 years in the making, and is recorded at the relatively fine scale of 1:35,000. 
This paper reviews the kinds of knowlege recorded in these maps, and contrasts these with the land tenure concepts of other Dayak people.

Cultural maps: Valuable tools or a distortion of hunter-gatherer views?

Ute Dieckmann, University of Cologne, Germany, Germany. Ute.dieckmann[a]

Short abstract:  Based on a cultural mapping project of the Etosha National Park (Namibia) undertaken with the (former) inhabitants, this talk will invite discussion about the potential, limitations and risks involved in cultural mapping with hunter-gatherers.

Long abstract: This talk is a reflection on my experiences in a cultural mapping project, which was carried out with Hai//om, a (former) hunter-gatherer group in the Etosha National Park in Namibia. I will first describe the purpose, the methodology used, the mapped information and the challenges faced during the project in their contextual framework of the political economy in Namibia. Next, I will explore how the maps created (rather than merely represented) images of space, time, and people – and I will analyse the various aspects of the processes through which this occurred (e.g. methodological, technical, political, cultural). 
The third part of the talk will move beyond the particular case study, in an effort to critically assess the challenges of cultural mapping projects and the value of cultural maps for hunter-gatherers. This part of the presentation will invite discussion along the following lines: What is being – and what can be – achieved with cultural maps? What are the unforeseen or disregarded side effects and what are the risks involved? How can the spatial representation via maps be complemented by the use of other media? What are the dilemmas of the researchers involved in such mapping projects?

Dayak Punan's Networking

Angela Iban, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. ibanangela[a]

Short abstract: Living in a settlement does not mean the Dayak Punan community in North Kalimantan left their culture as a hunter-gatherers society. They still live from forest products. This is about their resistance and how they see and expect their forest.

Long abstract: Living in a settlement to get educational and health facilities does not mean the Dayak Punan community in North Kalimantan left their culture as a hunter-gatherers. The Punan feel as a Dayak, they claimed as a part of Kalimantan. They still hunting and looking gaharu for several days or weeks. However, their explore area remains unlimited. Forests are always their priority. Now, they live from forest products, gardening, farming, and hunting. This is not only about their activities, but also about their resistance to live. We called "cultural maps" as a action to protect their territory and their future. To explain this argument, will be presented the local knowledge and ethno-ecology of Dayak Punan. How their see and expect their forest.

Indigenous Cultural Map-making as Process: A Case Study from the Lander Warlpiri

Petronella Vaarzon-Morel, The University of Sydney, Australia. pvmorel[a]

Short abstract: This paper presents a case study of a cultural mapping project funded and directed by Warlpiri people in Central Australia with the collaboration of anthropologists. I consider what is at stake for Warlpiri engaging in this process.

Long abstract: This paper presents a case study of a cultural mapping project funded and directed by Lander Warlpiri people in Central Australia with the collaboration of anthropologists and the support of the Central Land Council. I consider what is at stake for Warlpiri people engaging in this process and how it is a product of political, social and historical factors. For example, people no longer depend on hunting for their livelihoods and their embodied experiences of country are radically different to those of their ancestors. Increasingly, elders have become worried about the transmission of cultural knowledge to younger generations. They are thus intent on engaging younger people in site visits and the recording of places, narratives, and the complexly interwoven clan estates that provide the foundation for social relations and identity. In exploring this process of counter-mapping (Peluso 1995), I discuss ways in which local Indigenous practices of representing and inscribing relations of people with space and place differ from Western mapping techniques. I show how tools such as satellite imagery, canvas and web-based maps, video, photos and georeferenced spatial data are being used to augment earlier practices and I explore the challenges, opportunities and issues they present.


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