Anthropology Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


The challenges of building research partnerships around community mapping are critically reviewed in reference to the politics of heritage and identity among Indigenous Maya communities in highland Guatemala. This paper discusses how the goals and interests of archaeologists meshed with those of indigenous mappers in five communities that chose to participate in the mapping program. Based on responses to a survey about the mapping project, participants report joining in order to enhance self-determination, gain cartographic literacy, and improve life opportunities. Community authority over the project and a broad base of participation (including young and old, male and female) proved essential to the program, which combined traditional practices of governance with new technologies. This paper describes the community organizational model and protocols for selecting features and topics for thematic maps as well as for gaining community consensus on map content. Finally, it reflects on this transmodern approach to indigenous mapping and the future of research partnerships.


© 2015, IGI Global. Original published version available at

Publication Title

International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research





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