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Multiple Spatial Representations of Underrepresented Indigenous Lands and Oral Based Knowledge of Sustainable Practices

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Chacón, Miguel Angel
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2059
Sector: Social Organization
Land Tenure & Use
Region: Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): IASC
land tenure and use
indigenous institutions
property rights
representation--comparative analysis
local knowledge
Abstract: "This essay is based on the results of a doctoral dissertation survey concerning geographic and spatial features of Spanish- speaking subjects in Guatemala. The survey was also answered by an additional group of 100 bilingual students, 50 whose first language is a Mayan Quiche, and 50 Cackchiquel subjects whose secondary language is Spanish. Those who do not speak a Mayan language live in urban areas surrounding Guatemala City, and those who speak a native language live in urban or rural areas in Quiche and Chimaltenango, where they speak Quiche and Cackchiquel respectively. Two sample z-tests are performed to compare sample means. The z test results shows whether the variances of the two samples can be equal. The significance level is for values between 1.96 and -1.96. "This essay focuses on the differences that bilingual- indigenous and Spanish-speaking subjects showed in the survey. The purpose of the survey is to provide input to establish the quality of the representation and legibility of spatial features in maps as compared with oral and written descriptions, such as those used in titles of property. For example, the indigenous subjects answered that oral and written descriptions are more legible than conventional maps. In addition, the representation of borders and limits is insufficiently legible in maps and written descriptions of titles of properties. Survey results show that oral and written descriptions of some features are more legible than conventional maps. The survey showed that both subject groups do not agree about what is represented in a map downloaded from the IGN Web page (Guatemalan national mapping agency Web page), even though the map used in the survey is the same for all subjects. This disagreement is an example of what would happen to native populations in different areas of the Guatemalan country, where population groups with the same level of education can have different understandings of what is represented in maps. Conventional maps can take advantage of other options to portray or describe geographic and spatial information, such as oral knowledge and written descriptions."

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