Consignment: Trails, Transects, and Territory without Guarantees
Chapter 4 examines how new attachments and conceptualizations of stewardship have taken shape around flexible labor. I follow an ad hoc crew of temporary geographic information systems (GIS) mappers hired by the Gitanyow First Nation—a Gitxsan people with separate band governments, hereditary chiefs, and traditional territories from the neighboring Gitxsan First Nation—to map the route of a proposed pipeline through Gitanyow traditional territory. Focusing on the technical artifacts generated by transect mapping, an environmental mapping technique used to quantify objects of interest along a discrete linear path, the chapter examines how agile mapping and databasing practices have allowed Gitanyow and other Indigenous mappers to critique the geographical constraints of the provincial government’s “land selection” model for negotiating new treaties with First Nations. The chapter highlights the mundane and fragmentary nature of the practices through which contemporary forms of critique must be built—and, increasingly, deferred.