Mapping for Awareness of Indigenous Stories
1.1. Education, Mapping, and the Five Converging Global Trends: Examples from the Literature
“a complex, holistic, user-centered process which applies location-based technologies to the analysis of topics of interest to society, and the presentation of the results in innovative ways through cybercartographic atlases [where a] cybercartographic atlas is a metaphor for all kinds of qualitative and quantitative information linked by location and displayed in innovative, interactive, multimodal and multisensory formats. Cybercartographic atlases permit user communities to tell their own stories. Both mapping and storytelling are basic human instincts and are a central part of the holistic nature of Cybercartography. The process of creating these atlases is as equally important as the atlas as product”(Taylor, 2019, pp. 20–21).
1.2. Context and Background: The Canadian Residential Schools Legacy, Reconciliation, and Mapping
2.1. Integrating Research and Teaching in the Survivor Stories Sketch Mapping Exercise
2.2. Zooming in on Some Details of the Sketch Mapping Exercise
- Taking time to review and choose/adopt a story;
- Tracking sketch mapping process, including working notes;
- Selecting memories that resonate;
- Portraying geography of story;
- Written map interpretation/reflection;
- Witnessing, yet going beyond and involving reciprocity in terms of giving back by sharing impressions, lessons learned, aspects of process;
- Reflecting courage and respect, among other Seven Grandfathers Teachings.
3. Results: Student Output as a Function of Research and Teaching
3.1. Sketch Mapping Survivor Stories for a Cybercartographic Atlas
The sketch map assignment pushed me to engage more deeply with the stories of residential school survivors. This is the content at the core of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process. While I am familiar with the TRC Calls to Action, have read novels, listened to stories of survivors, and facilitated learning experiences for others around residential schools, I have never attempted to interact so deeply with a story so as to interpret and recommunicate it to others. This was scary for me, and, despite my Grade 3 level art skills, I am proud of what I made. Thank you for setting a goal and encouraging me along the way.
This sketch map is based on the survivor story of Dennis George Greene. The map is composed of a series of ink sketches that were scanned using a Moleskine Journal and the Adobe Capture app and turned into vector images. The images were saved into the Adobe Creative Cloud and from there I was able to import them into Photoshop to reassemble, colorize, connect and edit into a visual story where each piece comes together to form a whole.
The driving force behind this map is the initial conversation between the interviewer and Greene wherein the interviewer states “… our version of truth is told on the land. That’s where we find reconciliation … when we’re on the earth with our Mother” (00:38). When considering this statement, and after visiting and revisiting Greene’s own discussions around fear of the unknown, silence, and the benefits of breaking the cycle, I imagined Greene’s face imprinted upon or embedded within the ground of the earth. I saw him as one of the misdirected warriors he talked about. One that is arising from a slumber, moving toward or readying for battle, but not yet in battle. I visualized Greene’s truth as a tree growing out of the opening of his mouth; telling the story of an individual who on one side is strong and resilient yet disconnected on the other; dislodged from the self. An individual who was unplugged from their community and their ‘essence’ by the Residential School system at an early age. The right side of the tree is half of a feather representing the strength that resides within Greene. It encompasses Greene’s journey; his self-evolution and actualization and represents the strength revealed in the telling of his survivor story. The left side represents Greene as a ‘seedling’ being unplugged by the hand of the priests and nuns of the Ermineskin Residential School. The broken tree retains its prongs, suggesting that a re-connection is possible.
The broken heart has multiple meanings. I felt there was a lot of sadness in this story. Greene references instances where he and the other children were deprived of love, touch (and trust in others), praise and approval from those in charge of the schools. Greene addresses the generational effects that have trickled down to the children and grandchildren as a result, perpetuating pre-existing patterns of loveless, broken and chaotic relationships.
The seed attached to the mind behind the eye is a new growth that it is being cultivated by the subconscious and is developing upside down. The lines that stem from it suggest that it takes longer to break the surface as they are reaching towards (to break through) the other side of the earth. Hope exists in a small piece that has broken through the ground. This new growth must seek the sustenance of the sage bowl on the right. The smoke that comes from the sage bowl will then carry the new growth through the 3 moon phases and back into the feather (I realized afterwards that this is representative of episodes from season 3 of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina where the Spellman family call to Hecate, invoking the power of the triple moon (maiden, mother, crone). This moon phase represents path of life cycle, as well as a cycle of the phases of Greene’s self-reflection and realization.
Finally, the tears from the broken heart send water to the bottom of the earth. The seed senses this and grows in that direction so that it can flourish. The black dots are the memory traces, the frequencies that hang in the air around us and the earth. It is unclear whether they are guides, or just various paths that lead back to the self.
I really enjoyed this workshop and have had such a rewarding experience hearing the guest speakers; watching videos related to Indigenous culture and customs; reading about the mapping process and exploring oral/visual storytelling. I enjoyed how you gave the class the ability to reflect on the information that we were receiving each week and felt that reflecting helped me to look within myself to establish meaningful connections with the course materials that could be carried forward into my education, artistic practice and everyday life. I have experienced a full range of emotions over the past six weeks, especially while hearing the various survivor stories on the Where are the children website. I am so thankful that I found the story that I ended up choosing. The experiences Greene recounted, the truths I heard him reveal and the wisdom that he has cultivated within himself has touched me very deeply.
3.2. A Class Map Website Approach to Residential Schools Reconciliation Education
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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Pyne, S.; Castron, M.; Parish, A.; Farrell, P.; Johnston, S. Mapping for Awareness of Indigenous Stories. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2022, 11, 292. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11050292
Pyne S, Castron M, Parish A, Farrell P, Johnston S. Mapping for Awareness of Indigenous Stories. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2022; 11(5):292. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11050292Chicago/Turabian Style
Pyne, Stephanie, Melissa Castron, Annita Parish, Peter Farrell, and Shawn Johnston. 2022. "Mapping for Awareness of Indigenous Stories" ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 11, no. 5: 292. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11050292