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The Life of a Map: Counter-Mapping and Indigenous Territoriality in the Honduran Moskitia

Authors: Fernando Galeana*, Cornell University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America
Keywords: Counter-mapping, Honduras, indigenous peoples, critical cartography
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The participatory mapping or counter-mapping of indigenous lands has presented both opportunities and challenges for indigenous peoples’ territorial claims. In Latin America, one of the first participatory mapping projects took place in the region of Moskitia in eastern Honduras as a collaboration between researchers, NGOs, and indigenous peoples. Looking back into this mapping project provides insights into the different strategies that resulted over the following twenty-five years for indigenous land struggles in this region. Winichakul’s concept of “geo-body” is a useful framework for understanding the formation of indigenous territorial claims and the displacement of other alternative forms of territoriality. The dominant strategy was the creation of territorial councils to represent clusters of communities based on ethnic identity. This strategy, however, came at the expense of strengthening inter-ethnic alliances.

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