You know how they say history is written by the victors? True, to an extent. A large part of what we know as modern history was actually written by victors of war where the other party didn’t even know they were in a conflict.
All of Africa, most of Asia, all of South and Central America, the Caribbeans, Australia, New Zealand… any place a boat could reach, history was infringed upon by the colonisers.
The original inhabitants of India, Brazil, Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Mexico, the Philippines… and so many places never got the chance to write their history. Instead, their customs, rituals, traditions, their very bloodlines… all got hijacked along with their land.
In recent times, there have been hardline political agendas across the world which ostensibly are about restoring national pride. However, most of these are simply about political posturing. Unfortunately, for many people, that posturing seems to be enough, even if native histories aren’t being reclaimed.
Some people, however, have not conflated politics and patriotism with identity. Today’s Just One Thing is about a few such people and their attempt to reclaim their history.
A not-for-profit organisation from Canada, Native Land Digital, has launched a new online mapping tool that serves to remind people about whose land they actually live on.
Using volunteers, this team comprised of indigenous people from around the world has re-imagined the globe to name regions by the names of the original inhabitants of the place.
New York? That is Lenape territory. Perth, you say? More like Pinjarup nation. This amazing initiative has mapped pretty much most of North America and large tracts of South and Central America, along with nearly all of Australia, parts of Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa. You can even filter by languages or by various treaties that resulted in land redistribution to invaders.
Go ahead, take a look. Whose land do you live on?
P.S. We don’t invade and occupy. We only rent space in your mailboxes and your imagination. Tell everybody you know.