Hey everyone. In the past month or so — stemming originally from a YesMagazine article — our popularity has shot up immensely. We’ve had over 100,000 visitors in the past week, and a lot of comments, fixes, thoughts, and more. So amazing! Thanks for all the support!
While it’s really exciting, there are some issues that have been made clear in the past few days, too. Native Land is run by me — Victor — and while I have hired social media help, it’s a lot of effort for one person to research, update, and verify geographies, while doing the tech and media stuff as well. I am burning out a little and the value of the information on the site is slipping as well. In a sense, it’s a victim of its own popularity — the site is not of high enough quality for so many people’s needs, and inaccuracies and source problems end up causing considerable distress for many users.
I am putting in a strong effort over the next 2 months to get Native Land to a better place on these issues. I need to get more people involved, grow the organization, sort out the Board of Directors, and improve the website. I don’t have time to think about funding right now — things are too urgent to wait for that!
I wanted to lay out the roadmap so that people can see how I plan to approach the next couple of months, and my priority list. These will be happening simultaneously.
- Write this post, so the community is aware of the corrections we are making
- Hold off on doing new research and fixes until logistics is better
- Find help to go through all contacts and emails related to the site since its inception (1000+ emails)
- Sort contacts into thematic mailing lists
- At the same time, catalogue past geographic corrections and fixes
- The goal is to collect past resources and people and make it easier for them to collaborate
- This also documents our path so far
- Find 3-5 “geographic regional coordinators” — Indigenous people who are qualified and interested in researching particular regions of the world (ideally, their region)
- Later on, these will develop into regional councils with missions and methods
- This will improve source quality and attention
- Create “nation” pages — for each territory, language, and treaty — where geographies can be updated, links placed, resources improved, and where users can see the history of changes transparently
- Allow regional coordinators and volunteers access to these pages to improve their information (there will be thousands of pages)
- Move front-page map back into Mapbox, for clarity and ease-of-use
- Formalize 2-3 board members and announce them publicly on the website
I think, if we can get through all of this in the next couple of months, we will come out with a strong organization that can start to manage the complexity of what I’ve been creating.
This initiative and project deserves much more than my effort alone, and it’s my responsibility to ensure that I don’t abuse the power and attention that the site has garnered. I don’t want to do fixes half-heartedly and in a rush.
I would be happy to take your suggestions and criticisms, but please bear in mind that we need to act relatively fast and ideal methods may be difficult to implement immediately. We’re going to make this great, together!
Thanks for your support — yes, you, thank you. Together this will improve and become something of value, even if it’s never quite right.
- Victor Temprano