Mobilizing Maps: Khasi Indigenous Story Mapping and Spatial Erasure in Northeast India

How do new media forms such as digital story maps impede or advance democratic mobilization around energy development projects? The proposed research employs a participatory action research model to investigate how Indigenous communities in the developing world deploy digital story-mapping and Indigenous cultural and ecological knowledge in response to spatial erasure. The Khasi Story Map offers a counter-narrative to policymaker’s claims that the region needs critical development infrastructure, and it enables the Khasi community of Northeast India to enact digital and territorial self-determination over the proposed energy development projects in their ancestral lands. This project adopts the lens of digital story-mapping to address questions of digital media and democratic praxis, competing discourses of development, Indigenous data sovereignty, and de-territorialization. The Khasi Indigenous Story Map will be the first open access publication featuring Indigenous Khasi voices and Khasi narratives of Indigenous ecological knowledge, and the first online resource focusing on environmental and development issues in the state of Meghalaya, India.