New SMS Service Provides Histories of Indigenous Lands

Useful information, obtained with a single text

Native Lands map
Detail from a map of data from Native Lands.
Native Lands

In recent years, a growing number of institutions have begun making use of land acknowledgements. For those curious about what, exactly, that is, Native Governance Center offers some guidelines; essentially, it’s a way for organizations to acknowledge the often-painful histories of Indigenous people who were displaced or removed from lands years earlier. The New Museum has one; so does MIT.

A new messenger service has arrived on the scene, offering information for those curious about the history of the land where they presently live or work. In an article for Hyperallergic, Valentina Di Liscia wrote about a new SMS messenger bot which offers its users a very easy way to discover aspects of history of which they may not have been previously aware.

The SMS bot is easy to use: send a zip code or a city and state to (907) 312-5085; the bot will respond with information about the Native peoples who once lived there. The Hyperallergic article also stresses that phone numbers remain confidential.

The project represents a collaboration between two organizations based in Alaska, the Anchorage i-team and Code for Anchorage. The data is based on information compiled by the Canadian nonprofit Native Lands. And if you live in the United States or Canada, it might well give you a better sense of the past of your region — and motivate you to help change its future.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.