Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


This research endeavors to document and reclaim historical spatial Knowledge of the Itelmen Indigenous People of Kamchatka, shedding light on their perspectives and a profound connection to the land that have been historically marginalized and silenced. By employing a counter-mapping approach, the study challenges dominant colonial narratives, using Stepan Krasheninnikov's “The History of Kamchatka”, which provided invaluable insights into Itelmen Knowledge prior to Russian colonization, as the main data source. The engagement of an Indigenous Advisory Group ensures the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives and the authenticity of the research. The results of this research culminate in the creation of a relational database of more than 500 Itelmen places of significance and an interactive map that visually represents 135 distinct features of Itelmen land, which both challenge the prevailing colonial cartographic practices. The map serves as a powerful tool for the Itelmen community to reconnect with their ancestral lands, foster cultural resurgence, and assert their rights to self-determination. This study contributes to the scholarly field by employing innovative methodologies in reclaiming and mapping Indigenous historical Knowledge. It highlights the resilience, wisdom, and cultural richness of the Itelmen people, challenging the notion that their Knowledge is frozen in the past and emphasizing its ongoing relevance. Furthermore, it underscores the importance of decolonizing research practices, engaging in respectful collaboration with Indigenous communities, and fostering inclusive representations of Indigenous Knowledge.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Geography

First Advisor

Andrey N. Petrov, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 135 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download