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Using Geospatial Technologies to Enhance and Sustain Resource Planning on Native Lands

Citation: Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 2001, 67, 2, 167-169.

The quality of life of Native Peoples will be unavoidably altered as a result of long-term climate change and increased interannual climate variability, especially as it relates to air quality, water resources, forests, agriculture, and wetlands. Native Peoples have had centuries of experience on the land; they have responded to many changes and have found ways to live sustainably. Nevertheless, in addition to facing uncertain environmental changes as a result of climate change, today Native Peoples face diverse internal and external challenges to their ability to manage their natural and cultural resources. These include logging, mining, tourism, and urban encroachment. Sophisticated geographic information tools, including geographic information systems (GIS), the Global Positioning System (GPS), and remote sensing systems, can assist in meeting these challenges by empowering Native Peoples in the development and execution of their own resource strategies. Yet, because of cultural differences between Native communities and the dominant, European-influenced culture, these powerful geospatial technologies cannot be simply incorporated into a Native management framework without recognizing and bridging these cultural differences.

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