Antonio Garcia Cubas, "Cuadro historico-geroglifico de la peregrinacion de las tribus Aztecas que poblaron el Valle de Mexico. Num. I," 1858. David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries.

The third biennial Barry Lawrence Ruderman Conference on Cartography focused on the theme of Indigenous mapping. The conference, held digitally, was hosted by the David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford Libraries, which sits on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. It was sponsored and co-organized by Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc., whose shop is located on the ancestral land of the Kumeyaay peoples.

This theme is of paramount importance, especially as Indigenous peoples around the world continue to fight for their recognition and rights to land and resources. Simultaneously, institutions are increasingly examining their roles in exploitative imperial expansion and settler colonialism. The history of colonial encounter and of indigenous agency can both be glimpsed in historical maps, many of which were made by Indigenous peoples or thanks to crucial, and often unacknowledged, Indigenous contributions. More recently, mapping technologies are helping Indigenous groups to monitor resources, protect language, survey territory, govern, and provide evidence for reclamation and recognition procedures. Scholars, many of them Indigenous, are voicing their critiques and interventions using geographic and cartographic frameworks.

All of these interpretations of Indigenous maps and mapping were highlighted at the conference, held October 20-22, 2021. Each day of the conference had a keynote, followed by panels that spoke to a specific strain of scholarship: history of Indigenous maps and mapping, critical approaches to Indigenous geography, and digital applications. Our keynotes were Alex Hidalgo (Texas Christian University), Mishuana Goeman (UCLA), and Eric Anderson and Carrie Cornelius (Haskell Indian Nations University). The conference offered new insights into the ways in which maps and mapping are used by and have affected Indigenous peoples globally. Together, the three days of the conference hoped to highlight exciting research, showcase a variety of maps and mapping practices, and to explore the thrust of this important field of study.

This exhibition is currently installed at the David Rumsey Map Center but is only open to Stanford affiliates due to the impact of COVID-19.


Panel videos


Recordings from the conference of each speaker's presentation will be uploaded here.