GIS Resources for Indigenous Studies

A collection of GIS data and online maps for research in Indigenous Studies. All are free.

GIS Data

GIS data can come in multiple formats for use in GIS software. The most common format is shapefile, which is what the following datasets are in unless otherwise noted.

Online Maps

These include interactive online maps as well as downloadable scanned maps that were originally in paper. Scanned maps can be georeferenced and digitized using GIS software such as Google Earth.

  • Aboriginal Peoples digital maps (PDF and/or JPEG) - 30 modern and historical maps under the subject heading Aboriginal Peoples. From GeoGratis

  • First Nations Profiles Interactive Map - map portal to First Nation community information, including links to First Nation community websites and First Nation Profiles. From Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

  • First Peoples' Map of BC - "British Columbia is home to 204 First Nations communities and an amazing diversity of Indigenous languages; approximately 50% of the First Peoples’ languages of Canada are spoken in B.C."

  • Gwich’in Goonanh’kak Googwandak: Gwich’in Place Name Atlas - "Gwich'in Elders and traditional land users [have been working to] to document place names and create an inventory of heritage sites in the Gwich'in Settlement Region."

  • Indian Reserves - Western Canada - 200+ online digitized (PDF) and downloadable maps from Library and Archives Canada. Database homepage.

  • Indigenous People's Atlas of Canada in print

  • Inuit Nunangat Map - interactive online map of Inuit communities. From Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

  • Maps of Treaty Making in Canada - over a dozen downloadable PDF maps of pre-1975 treaty boundaries in Canada. From Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

  • Mi'kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas - interactive online map that includes audio file of place name pronunciation.

  • Native Land - an Indigenous-led interactive map of Indigenous territories around the world, searchable by territory, language, or treaty.

  • Pan Inuit Trails - "The Atlas provides a synoptic view (although certainly incomplete) of Inuit mobility and occupancy of Arctic waters, coasts and lands, including its icescapes, as documented in written historical records (maps of trails and place names)."

  • Residential Schools Land Memory Atlas - "This Atlas includes map modules that track many dimensions or themes related to Residential Schools." From Carleton’s Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre.

  • Squamish Atlas - "The Squamish Atlas is a digital tool for public education of Squamish Language place names."

  • Stories from the Land: Indigenous Place Names in Canada - "Indigenous place names reinforce an intimate relationship with the land, convey a broad range of knowledge such as travel routes and traditional hunting and fishing grounds, and are touchstones for history and legends. They also embody and honour the teachings of Elders, and are a tool for educating youth."

  • Treaties and Agreements - database with 100+ references to maps in historic Canadian treaties and related agreements. The two intro pages of each record indicate which page the map is on and #14 in the record should indicate if it's in that document. If it's in a different document that information will likely be in #17. From Library and Archives Canada. Please note that this database uses colonial language.

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