What WE do
Indigenous Geotags is an environmental justice organization and resource dedicated to decolonizing and indigenizing America's public lands. Designed to raise awareness of the indigenous history of public land in the United States, we share the stories of dispossession and the ways contemporary American Indian nations are fighting to practice their cultural and economic activities in these spaces, many of which are treaty-guaranteed rights.
We want to challenge people to rethink what we mean when we say something is "pubic land" or "our land." How did this land become public to begin with? This is an environmental justice issue where the rights and culture of indigenous people, an already marginalized community, are given lower priority on their own land than the tourist activities of the largely white outdoor community.
Names are important. For settlers, naming something was an act of claiming it. It is a way of saying, "This place has no name, it has no history, it is a culturally blank canvas and I am here to fill it." Restoring original Native names then, is an act of decolonization or indigenization. It forces people to consider these longer histories and these conflicting claims. Restoring names is a way of reclaiming not just these land, but all the cultural significance embedded in the names themselves.
Officially changing names is a long and difficult process requiring local, country, state, and federal approval each with their own voting bodies and vetting processes. Social media geotags are a way to get around that process, giving hikers and climbers options on how they tag their locations and, at the very least, raising awareness about the indigenous names. It isn't perfect - they still function within the confines of a private corporation and they aren't officially recognized names by the state - but we think it is an important start.