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Dwelling in the districts: the participation and perspectives of mapping traditional communities on Pine Ridge




Steinbuck, Mark Robert, author
Pickering Sherman, Kathleen, advisor
Galvin, Kathleen A., committee member
Leisz, Stephen J., committee member
Cottrell, Stuart P., committee member

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This thesis discusses the process and results of research gathered from a field season on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota. By engaging in a community mapping project with Oglala Lakota elders, I show the benefits and reason behind the theory of participation. The project intends to "map" the indigenous tiospaye groups in the Porcupine District, and ends up gathering narrative representations of place rather than explicitly cartographic ones, a reification of the theorized "dwelling space." A discussion of the mapping project leads to a wider explication of the general practice of mapping indigenous lands throughout history. How indigenous perceptions of place and landscape are represented through acts of cartography is discussed to show the potential for empowerment or disempowerment of indigenous worldviews. The thesis concludes that a divestment of power to local communities is necessary for truly sustainable development, and further that the knowledge and perceptions of the traditional Lakota elders needs to be validated on their own terms in order to decolonize the relationship between their tiospayes and the tribal government.


2013 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.

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community development
Oglala Lakota
participatory mapping
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
traditional governance


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