Posting Your Hike on Instagram? Now You Can Tag Your Location’s Indigenous Name

This Native climber created indigenous geotags for more than 40 mountains.
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“These are lands that have been stewarded by indigenous people for thousands of years, and now it’s a responsibility of everyone to take that into consideration.”

Photo by @nativesoutdoors via Instagram

Public spaces are for everyone, but how we perceive them and interact with them is contextual. Some activists are making their statements on the public canvas all around the world. And it’s catching on.


Len Necefer fell in love with mountain climbing after moving to Colorado, but he noticed that information about the national parks he visited did not include indigenous history, despite Native people being the first occupants of those areas. 

Soon, he discovered a way to reclaim indigenous lands.

In 2017, Necefer, a member of the Navajo Nation, began posting photos of Native people participating in outdoor recreation to his Instagram account, @NativesOutdoors. One day, he posted a photo of a woman standing on the summit of Longs Peak, with the geotag “Neníisótoyóú’u,” the mountain’s Arapaho name. 

Since then, through a combination of scholarly research and gathering traditional indigenous knowledge, Necefer has created indigenous place-name geotags for more than 40 mountains, most in Colorado.

“For a lot of folks, even myself, the education we receive about indigenous history in this country is pretty inadequate,” Necefer says. “It does not talk about the immense suffering and displacement that occurred, especially on public lands. People are curious and want to know, and I think this is one way that can happen.

“These are lands that have been stewarded by indigenous people for thousands of years, and now it’s a responsibility of everyone to take that into consideration.”

These mountains, have, and continue to be, stewarded by indigenous people. Our public lands are also the repositories of thousands of years of knowledge and cultural traditions. These bodies of knowledge and cultural traditions, which has been organized and catalogued by native people, will be the most powerful tool we have in addressing larger questions of appropriate pathways for conservation & will provide insights in how to tackle larger environmental issues such as climate change. ----- As part of my effort to stand for public lands, NativesOutdoors is actively working toward having the original indigenous place names of Colorado be recognized & included in the signage and publicly available descriptions of these places online. When we are reminded that these places have been stewarded and managed successfully for thousands of years before us, we are given hope that we will be able to carry on this promise for generations to come. ---- Shoutout to @tiffinyepiphany for making the grueling climb up Neníisótoyóú’u (Long’s Peak) 14,259ft / 4,346m to share the Arapaho name for the mountain. ------ #NativesOutdoors #Arapaho #arapaholanguage #14ers #neníisótoyóúu #longspeak #wildernessinherited

A post shared by NativesOutdoors (@nativesoutdoors) on Aug 20, 2017 at 12:43pm PDT