Cut from the Same Cloth: The United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, Geographic Information Systems, and Cultural Assimilation

Cut from the Same Cloth: The United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, Geographic Information Systems, and Cultural Assimilation

Mark H. Palmer (University of Oklahoma, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-298-5.ch030
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Abstract

The construction and implementation of geographic information systems (GIS) within the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is yet another attempt to assimilate American Indians into the greater American society. Historically, the BIA collaborated with Christian missionaries to assimilate indigenous Americans. The United States federal government implemented the reservation and boarding school systems, and promoted the English language and Christianity while effectively suppressing indigenous languages and religions. Today the BIA collaborates with new missionaries who are distinctly technical and corporate. This particular BIA/GIS implementation strategy can have homogenizing and universalizing impacts upon American Indian cultural landscapes, geographic knowledge and native languages.

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