Maps and Mapping

Maps and Mapping

I have long been excited about maps (my uncle gave me a subscription to National Geographic when I was 7 years old, and I am still a member today). I have worked as a cartographer, and have done scholarly writing about maps in Coast Salish territories. My most famous academic article is about the trouble of drawing boundary lines between communities in anthropologists' maps:

Thom, Brian (2009) The Paradox of Boundaries in Coast Salish Territories. Cultural Geographies. 16(2):179-205. [Open Access Vesion]

(2006) “The Paradox of Boundaries in Coast Salish Territories”. Invited paper presented at Indigenous Cartographies and Representational Politics: an international conference dedicated to the critical examination of indigenous mapping and geographic information systems. Cornell University, March 3-5, 2006.

Innovations in Ethnographic Mapping and Indigenous Cartography YouTube Gallery

I have been invited to give many public talks and lectures about using Google Earth and other digital mapping tools for supporting innovative approaches to Indigenous cartography. See me on YouTube!

(2020) Thom, Brian and Rachael-Stewart Dziama "Problematic Polygons: Ethnographically-Informed Cartographic Alternatives for Representing Indigenous Territorial Relations” Paper presented at the joint meetings of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Royal Geographical Society, (virtual conference) 15 Sep 2020.

(2020) Thom, Brian “Ethnographic Approaches to Indigenous Mapping” Invited Keynote Presentation, Indigenous / Science Partnerships: Exploring Histories and Environments, Green College Cross-sectoral Series, University of British Columbia. 26 Feb 2020.

(2019) Thom, Brian "Bringing Indigenous cartographies to shape municipal land use plans" Presented at Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives 2019 Regional Meetings, McGill University, 03 May 2019

(2019) Thom, Brian “Reframing Landscapes: Digital Practices and Place Based Learning”. Centre for Digital Scholarship and Curation, Spring Symposium 2019. Washington State University, Pullman, March 4-5, 2019.

(2017) Thom, Brian “Mapping Land and Resource Development Pressures on Indigenous Peoples’ Territories in Canada” Invited partner panel talk at Geo for Good User Summit 2017, Google Headquarters, Mountain View, CA, 03 Oct 2017

(2016) Caquard, Sébastien and Brian Thom "Axis 6: Indigenous Mapping" Invited presentation at the Meetings of the Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives. Wendake, QC, 28 Aug-01 Sep 2016.

(2015) Kathleen Johnnie and Brian Thom “Recognizing Indigenous Rights in Private Land: Testimonies and Maps of Hul’qumi’num peoples” Invited presentation at the Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA), Saint-Paulin, Qc, Oct 24, 2015

(2014) "Igniting inter-generational sharing of place-based knowledge between Indigenous youth and elders", Invited talk given at Google's 2014 Geo for Good Summit, Mountain View, CA, Oct 21st, 2014.

Amy Becker and Brian Thom (2014) “Stz’uminus Storied Places”. Invited presentation at Indigenous Mapping Workshop, University of Victoria, 26 Aug 2014.

(2013) "Unsettling the Cartographic Record: Anthropology in the Salish Sea" Invited Paper (Pecha Kucha) for Unsettling Records session organized by Andrea Walsh and Lisa Mitchell at the Annual Meetings of the Canadian Anthropology Society, Victoria, 8-11 May 2013.

Mapping Challenges to Hul'qumi'num Territories Project

Created in 2016, this series of webmaps shows the challenges to Indigenous territoriality in Hul'qumi'num peoples' territories on southeast Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Themes include historic land grabs; forestry; mining, oil & gas; freshwater extraction; marine closures; Crown lands; urbanization; conflicts over ancestral sites; major projects; parks and protected areas; local government jurisdiction.

These maps also show First Nations settlements and land interests, sites of litigation with case summaries; and negotiated agreements.

Mapping in Kamchatka (Russian Far East)

Degai, Tatiana and Brian Thom (2017) The Legend of Elvel: Technology, Decolonization, and the Powerful Trails of an Itelmen-language story. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC). University of Hawai'i, Manoa. [Open Access]

Thom, Brian, Ben Colombi, and Tatiana Degai (2016) Bringing Indigenous Kamchatka to Google Earth: Collaborative Digital Mapping with the Itelmen Peoples. Sibirica. 15(3):1-30. [Open Access Version]

Colombi, Benedict, Brian Thom and Tatiana Degai (2018) Googling Indigenous Kamchatka: Mapping New Collaborations. Pp. 195-203 in Indigenous Justice: New Tools, Approaches, and Spaces. Edited by Hendry, J., Tatum, M.L., Jorgensen, M., and Howard-Wagner, D. Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies. ISBN 978-1-137-60644-0.

Map Gallery

Google's Streetview provides a powerful way of immersing people in a place. In 2014-16 using the Streetview App on my Pixel phone, I visited a number of important named places in Coast Salish territories. My images of these places, accompanied by short descriptions that share something of their significane, is hosted as the Coast Salish Cultural Landscapes gallery, hosted curated by Google's Streetview team:

These are a selection of maps I have drawn to accompany various publication. Most of these are older maps I drew in the 1990s and early 2000s using CorelDraw to illustrate Coast Salish cultures, languages and lands. Please let me know if you are hoping to reproduce these maps, I am happy to provide them under a Creative Commons.