The advent of geographic information Systems (giS) and global Positioning System (gPS) technology has occasioned a plethora of mapping processes throughout the world concerned with indigenous rights. Yet many of these projects and processes seem to end with the maps, occasionally to the detriment of the people subject to the mapping. this paper argues that mapping is a necessary but insufficient goal if the aim is to further indigenous land and resource rights, especially in a context in which there are many more powerful forces, hostile to the empowerment process. the paper uses the case of the Bosawas international Biosphere reserve to illustrate parallel processes of mapping (with appropriate documentation), protection, political harmonization, institutional strengthening, and appropriate scientific input that have been employed there. All of these processes together have begun to make a difference, and the colonist agricultural frontier that threatens indigenous lands within the reserve has been notably slowed, although secure land and resource rights have continued to evade Nicaragua’s indigenous people.

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