Hey! Victor here. Anyway, lately you might have noticed Native Land getting more active on social media. We have a new Communications Manager, Lydia Prince! I’ll introduce Lydia in another post, but first, people should know about what’s going on with Native Land. It’s all pretty exciting.
It’s been like 3 (maybe 4?) years since I started Native Land, and it’s been a hobby project that people have really responded to and it means a lot to me. It has affected a lot of people’s lives in small ways, and that for me is beyond awesome. But it’s also hard to manage.
I’m kind of a programmer/nerd-type person, so I tend to focus lots on the data and map part. But I only continue the site because I fundamentally care about the content. There’s a lot of very complex questions involved, which I’ve illustrated in other posts and have mentioned on social media… things like “who counts as Indigenous”, and “who gets to decide the borders”, picking sources, arguments between nations, a million things.
The harder theoretical questions are way beyond my authority to answer — way beyond anyone’s authority, really, but mine in particular, as a settler who is in a position of control over all this data. Territories are very real political entities for many nations. People might define themselves by the boundaries on this map, or disagree over who should be represented. This is all stuff I’ve dealt with already, doing this for years, but it’s not my place to have the final say!
Native Land should be run and overseen by indigenous people, not me. It should be a non-profit organization, with a Board of Directors, who can inform the directions of the project and its policies. I have been talking with Indigenext recently, a startup accelerator in Vancouver, and they’ve helped me start to put some of this together in a meaningful way.
I have always opted for a more inclusive, expansive approach, and I’ve always wanted Native Land to be a good resource. But my ultimate goal is political: I want to help get rid of this shitty colonialism. What matters most to me is knowing this tool changes minds, empowers, or opens long-closed doors. With people beyond me directing the work we do, I think this can only get better.
It will take a while to put together the Board and make official announcements. In the meantime I’m putting in more resources to get things rolling for real, hiring some help and doing redesigns. Even though Native Land doesn’t directly make me money, it has certainly brought me amazing work opportunities too, so putting some back in is not a loss! I’m starting a business as well, and I don’t want it to get mixed up too much with Native Land. Eventually I’ll find a grant or larger funding.
All this is a lot for me to manage but it’s so meaningful and fun at the same time. If you have concerns or wonder about more of the details here, just leave a comment and I’ll be happy to elaborate (where I know the details myself). I am doing my best on due diligence and working with others, so I’m not trying to do this all on my own.
Thanks everyone. For the hundreds of people’s help and input over the years – it means the world to me.
- Victor Temprano