Retrieving Indigenous Knowledge to a Digital Map: the Case of the Traditional Farming System in a Hñahñu (Otomí) Community

Wednesday Sep 28   05:00 PM to 07:00 PM (2 hours)
Indigenous knowledgeFarmland management systemSemantic analysisParticipatory researchPGISDigital map
Indigenous classification systems represent cognitive experiences of human groups in the geographical space. Formalization efforts of indigenous knowledge impose their own concepts, and therefore, it is often decontextualized. This research aims to formalize the farm land management system of an hñahñu (otomí) community into a map using their own geographical concepts. A semantic analysis with Participatory Geographical Information System and Google Earth visualization is proposed as a method. Results show that farm land management system developed by hñahñu is based upon a set of four geographical categories and subcategories. It was found that the hñahñu categorize them using the plot location in the landscape and water supply strategies as attributes. Although this recognition allowed the drawing of boundaries, the hñahñu view of geographical space challenged the conventional map and this led into a Google earth map. Google Earth showed the potential for improving indigenous knowledge representations and communication within the community.

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