Another aspect to this story is the historical record that Native people have been colonized and paternalized by federal government policies.The history of this modern era has left many nations with a fixed land base and imposed governmental processes.Such progressive activity is in line with all tribal philosophies to provide a future for generations yet to come while building immediate tribal and community capacity.
The data beyond their own includes private industry and provincial and federal ministries.
Particular progressive First Nations have developed seamless data sets within their traditional territories that supersede what anyone else had done.
However, today is an ever unfolding complex story whereby the U. tribes are applying the spatial and spectral technologies toward cultural and natural resource planning, community planning and infrastructure, monitoring environmental change, managing urban sprawl, treaty and rights protections, and integrating traditional ecological knowledge into the tribal decision making process—one can say "all the spatial information applications for a sovereign nation In Canada there is no trust responsibility initiative to provide digital base data for First Nations. Without direct federal financial support and digital databases to support First Nations, Canadian aboriginal communities have had to hone an internal fortitude to succeed.
A good example of perseverance and success is Six Nations' Geo-Systems of Ontario.
This has placed many tribal governments in a reactionary mode of operation.
So what we are starting to see and experience today is how Native people are embracing the spatial and spectral technologies as an ultimate expression of self-determination and the reconstruction of their nations. Indian country is a little more than 15 years in the making.
I have been very fortunate to be part of this era of applied proactivity. In 1985, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) initiated a program as part of the trust responsibility of the federal government to implement GIS with federally recognized tribes.
Ten years later, there were at least 50 of the 550 (approx.) tribes that were actually utilizing the digital databases the BIA's Geographic Data Service Center had developed for mostly natural resource management applications.
The actual story about Indian GIS is complex but definitely flows within a continuum of historical and culturally significant events.
Of great interest in understanding Indian GIS is what is recognizable in every culture that regards life as a relationship with the earth as Mother.