Village Earth

Making Reservation GIS Information Accessible With Map Books


Today, of the total 56 million acres of Native American lands in the United States, nearly 11 million acres are held in trust for individuals. However, very few of the nearly 300,000 land owners directly utilize or

Pine Ridge Strategic Land Planning Map Bookmanage their lands. In fact, most of these lands are being leased-out by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to non-native farmers and ranchers, oftentimes for a fraction of their fair market value. This is the outcome of a century of racist and exclusionary policies designed to alienate Native American land owners from their lands to make them available to white farmers and ranchers. These policies have also created a severe problem of undivided ownership and fractionation across Indian County, creating a massive barrier for Native American land owners wanting reclaim and utilize their lands. For example it is common for Native American land owners to own undivided interests in dozens of tracts of land with hundreds of different land owners in each tract. In order to utilize their lands they are required to get the permission from at least 51% of the land owners. The US Government’s solution to this problem is to buy up individual interests, lease them out for a period of time to recoup the purchase price and then transfer them to the ownership of the respective Tribal Government. However, the Federal government provides no resources or support for individual land owners seeking to make their lands viable again by consolidating their fractionated interests on their own. The situation is so dire that many feel their only option is to sell their lands. Since 2003, Village Earth has been working alongside individual Native American landowners providing technical support, information and resources to reclaim and utilize their lands. We have learned that one of the biggest obstacles for Native American land owners is accessing information about their lands and the various tools and resources available to them. In an attempt to remedy this situation on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and with support form the Oglala Sioux Tribe Land Office and the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, we developed the Pine Ridge Strategic Land Planning Map Book. The idea was pretty simple, create a low-cost resource where individual land owners on Pine Ridge could easily locate their lands. Like at atlas, the map book breaks a high-resolution map of the reservation into a series of tiles, each page represents a tile. The individual parcels or tracts of land on Pine Ridge are listed in the back in a numerical index listed with its corresponding page number. The book also includes a glossary of land-related terms, sample forms, and detailed instructions. A map book like this can be printed on a standard copier or distributed via the web in PDF format which is much cheaper than plat map of the same resolution.

Below is a video tutorial on how to create map books using the Data Driven Pages tool in ArcMap 10.

Here’s an overview of how to create mapbooks using the DS Mapbook Plugin for ArcMap 9.0 http://webhelp.esri.com/arcgisdesktop/9.3/index.cfm?TopicName=Creating_a_map_series

Here’s an overview of how to create mapbooks using the EasyPrint Plugin for Quantum GIS. http://darrencope.com/2011/11/22/map-books-in-qgis/

If you have further questions or would like assistance creating a map book for your lands, contact David Bartecchi or by phone at 970-237-3002 Ext. 504

Upcoming Courses in the Village Earth/CSU Online Certificate Program in Community-Based Development

Fall I Session

GSLL 1518 – Community-Based Food Systems

During this five week course, you will learn about various approaches to building community-based food systems and movements for food justice around the world. Together, we will evaluate successful efforts at food system relocalization and the protection of community food resources, as well as the factors that threaten these efforts.

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This course explores theories, ethics, applications, and methods of community-based mapping and its role in participatory learning and action as well as larger processes of integrated community-based development.

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