Leaving Oklahoma, and a question about mapping autonomous regions

Posted by Paul Johnson on 20 July 2010 in English (English)

On my final night in Tulsa, I'm realizing that I need to move out here. I've discovered a lot about myself in the last six weeks mapping Tulsa and volunteering for the Byron T. Bear Foundation. I learned I'm Cherokee and am now working on getting Cherokee citizenship. The people here are friendly, and compared to Oregon, it's cheap to live and has low unemployment. Hopefully, I can return to Oklahoma soon for college. In the mean time, I'm going to miss this place.

Did quite a bit of map validation and squashed literally hundreds of errors TIGER imported. Oklahoma still needs a lot of help on the map, particularly with TIGER data, lakewalking the bajillion waterway nodes, filling in rivers, correcting turnpike attributes, and cleaning up after random one-off Potlatch novelty edits.

One issue that has come up that I can't quite figure out: How to tag boundaries of autonomous regions within a country? For example, most of the land "inside" Oklahoma is, for all intents and purposes, outside the US on Cherokee, Osage, Creek and various other Indian nation land. In such areas, federal and state authorities usually have no authority whatsoever (and if they do, it's generally minimal and under direct supervision of the tribal authorities). These regions issue their own license plates and passports, have their own governments and law, and are autonomous from the US and the state, and are generally recognized by NAFTA members as autonomous. How to tag?

Location: East Apache Street, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, 74115, United States of America

Comment from Paul Johnson on 20 July 2010 at 03:49

I think I like the adminstrative tag better, since that better illustrates the degree of autonomy.

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Comment from 42429 on 20 July 2010 at 09:32

Using boundary=administrative for Indian reservations is a joke, because they are often part of other municipalities.

Look at the city of Cloquet, for example:

The western part of the city is covered by Fond du Lac Indian Reservation. However, the reservation does not constitute a separate municipality like Scanlon on the southeastern edge. Why don't they try to create a separate municipality or even a separate county?

Reservations are areas with some special rights concerning some topics which cannot be described by the transitive (1>2>9>10) and hierarchical admin_level tag. However, they don't fulfill all duties of an administrative entity like a county or a state.

Administrative division in the United States is a complicated matter as many countries and municipalities don't fit with urban settlements. Tribal government and tribal services have often been established in the 1980s and 1990s (with casino revenues) but their incorporation as municipalities is still a pending work.

Talking about such highly controversial political issues might be regarded as offensive, but I think there is a need to discuss these topics.

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Comment from Paul Johnson on 20 July 2010 at 16:29

FK270673: Are we trying to make a map that is accurate, or a map that looks like other maps? If the former is the goal, then tagging an indian reservation like a nature reserve instead of like other administrative boundary fails to properly reflect just how much authority and autonomy the region has (and equates Indians to wildlife by extension, which I personally find condescending). Plus, there's quite a few tribes out there that do fulfill the administrative duties of a state or country such as what the Bureau of Indian Affairs refers to as the "five civilized tribes."

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Comment from 42429 on 20 July 2010 at 21:20

I agree that equating Indians with wildlife is condescending.

If we just take the claimed level of sovereignty, an Indian nation would be tagged with admin_level=3 on an equal level like Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Samoa and the Virgin Islands. However, Hong Kong passports are internationally recognized whereas tribal passports are not. Puerto Rico and Samoa are internationally recognized territories, e.g. at the Olympic games.

Let's have a look at Wikipedia:

> While every reservation is part of a state, and residents vote as residents of the state in which they reside and do pay federal taxes, the reservations are exempt from many state and local laws.

Given the fact that each reservation is part of a state, it should be tagged with admin_level=5 or lower.

> The ambiguous nature of their status has created both opportunities (such as gambling in states that normally disallow it) and challenges (such as the unwillingness of some companies to open up shop in a territory where they are not certain what laws will apply to them).

So Indian reservations are a special rights zone with some specific privileges (e.g. lower taxes) and some specific disadvantages (see example above).

Indian reservations can be compared with European tax-free zones (e.g. the villages of Jungholz, Livigno, Samnaun). These tax-free villages have ordinary administrative boundaries with admin_level=8 despite the fact that their municipal border is a border of national taxation.

I know that tax exemption is not the unique property of an Indian reservation.
However, we still don't have mapping guidelines for tax-free areas and other special zones.

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