WASHINGTON – Friday, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) announced the results of joint efforts with Google to ensure better visibility for Indian reservations in the United States on Google Maps. Over the past year, Google launched several improvements for the way reservations appear on Google Maps, including labeling reservations, highlighting reservation borders in search results, and ensuring that their reservation dataset is as comprehensive as possible. The most recent update was rolled out in November to coincide with Native American Heritage Month.
In 2012, NCAI and the Google American Indian Network co-hosted a summit at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. At the summit, tribal leaders underscored the role of tribal nations as first American governments, explained the significance of land to Native peoples, and urged Google to consider closer partnerships with Native peoples as the first American innovators.
As a result of those discussions, Google Maps now makes it easier than ever to search for federally recognized tribal reservations. The project was led by the Google American Indian Network (GAIN) and the Google Earth Outreach (GEO) team in close collaboration with NCAI and the Tribal Technology Taskforce. Including reservations on Google Maps is an important part of creating a comprehensive map of the United States and the world. Google and NCAI worked together to accurately represent reservation labels, borders, and additional details in a way that was respectful of Indigenous communities.
Welcoming the development, NCAI President Brian Cladoosby released the following statement:
“NCAI congratulates Google on this important innovation to acknowledge the place of tribal nations in the American family of governments. America’s 566 federally recognized tribes are acknowledged alongside foreign nations and state governments in the US Constitution and they have jurisdiction over a land base of over 100 million acres. This land base is larger than all but three American states.
Thanks to the partnership between NCAI and the GAIN and GEO teams, the lands of America’s first governments are now clearly highlighted on Google Maps. We look forward to our ongoing partnership to improve the representation of tribal lands on Google Maps.
This is a great step forward to acknowledge the place of tribes in the past, present, and future of the United States, but it is not the last. NCAI will continue to build partnerships with tech companies like Google to ensure the first American innovators remain on the front lines of 21st century innovation.“