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The Native Lands Advocacy Project (NLAP) compiles, consolidates, and visualizes data resources to support sovereign, sustainable, Native-led land planning and protection. All of our data tools are hosted on the Native Land Information System (NLIS). You can read about the history of NLAP here.

We believe the federal government has a moral and fiduciary obligation to provide data access, transparency, and control to tribes—especially data that can be used to assess its performance as a self-appointed Trustee. However, because the U.S. government often fails to provide meaningful access to the data collected by external agents about Native citizens, lands, and resources, NLAP is committed to creating free, accessible, and useful data tools from data already in the public domain.

We do this work with the support and guidance of our trusted partners in Indian Country, such as the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, the Native American Agriculture Fund, the Intertribal Agriculture Council, and more. We do not publish tribally-gathered or tribally-owned data on our website, though we do work with tribes one-on-one to assist in the development of private tools upon request. To read more about our commitment to data sovereignty, see this blog post and this page.

Our Data Tools

Data dashboards and thematic maps are NLAP’s primary data tools, housed under the “Data Tools” tab of our website. 

A screenshot of four data dashboards on the NLIS: What’s Growing on US Native Lands, USDA Census of Agriculture for American Indian Reservations, US Pipelines and Hazardous Liquid Spills 2010-2020, and Total Area of US Native Lands in Acres: 1912-1984. These represent just some of the many data tools on the NLIS.

Our Data Dashboards, some of which are shown above, make large and complex datasets easier to visualize, sort, filter, compare, and analyze. Visuals from our dashboards have been used in presentations, reports, academic articles, news flyers, and more. Our dashboards also allow users to view and filter the raw data, creating a high level of access to the data while removing unnecessary barriers. 

Each dashboard has information explaining where the data came from, the limitations it may have, and why it’s relevant to tribal communities. Our dashboards span a wide range of topics for use in land planning, ARMP-IRMP creation, climate adaptation, documentation of historical oppression, and more.

A screenshot of three thematic maps on the NLIS: RAP - Rangeland Analysis Platform, Intact Habitat Selector Tool, and National Land Cover Database: Tribal Lands Viewer. These represent just some of the many data tools on the NLIS.

Thematic Maps are dynamic, interactive maps that present one or more data layers overlaid with the boundaries of the 574 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. Our thematic maps allow users to view important trends in thermal activity, drought, intact habitat, and more on reservations. They also allow users to measure distances, draw points and shapes, and export or print maps for their own usage. 

Storymaps & Blog Posts

NLAP also publishes storymaps and blog posts to help contextualize and explain our data tools. 

A screenshot of three storymaps on the NLIS: Preserving Intact Habitat on Native Lands, Building Up Native Youth in Agriculture, and the Legacy of Allotment on Contemporary Native Agriculture.

Storymaps (some shown above)also found under the “Data Tools” tab of the NLIS, are dynamic, interactive, and data-rich narratives. Our storymaps are often deep dives into certain data tools, such as our Preserving Intact Habitat on Native Lands storymap, which explains the context surrounding Intact Habitat and why it’s significant for Native Lands, while also providing a tutorial of how to use our Intact Habitat thematic map.

We also use storymaps to provide historical context for the content of our site. For example, our Legacy of Allotment storymap walks through critical historical agriculture policies that have shaped Native lands, economies, and food systems. This storymap focuses primarily on the Dawes Act, also known as the General Allotment Act, and uses the most recent data from the USDA Census of Agriculture for American Indian Reservations to illustrate the devastating and intergenerational impacts of allotment, while also highlighting the ways Native communities are leading efforts to recover and grow beyond these impacts. 


A screenshot of six blog posts on the NLIS: Amplifying Indigenous Data Sovereignty on National Data Privacy Day, Soil Organic Carbon Planning, Key to Building Tribal Climate Resiliency, Assessing Food Resilience on Native Reservations: the Good Food Access Indicator, Cropland Diversity on Native Lands, The Power of Asdzáán in Agriculture: Data Shows Native Female Majority Among Navajo Operators, and Rez Croplands: How Native Farmers and Ranchers Can Leverage the USDA’s Cropland Data Layer for Land Planning.

Our blog posts, some of which are shown above, also provide context for our website’s content and act as tutorials for our data tools, but they are shorter-form and less interactive than our storymaps. Our blog posts cover a vast array of topics and tend to highlight interesting data points from our tools. 

Thematic Hubs

Finally, our Thematic Hubs consolidate all of our tools—dashboards, thematic maps, storymaps, and blog posts—into curated collections based on their subject matter and potential uses. For example, the Status of Native Lands thematic hub curates data tools for evaluating the BIA’s performance as a Trustee and for documenting historic land oppression. 

Another thematic hub, our ARMP-IRMP Planning Portal, contains the relevant tools and guides for the creation of tribal Agricultural Resource Management Plans (ARMPs) and Integrated Resource Management Plans (IRMPs).

A screenshot of the five thematic hubs currently on the NLIS: the ARMP-IRMP Planning Portal, the Food-System Transition Index for Native Lands, the Lost Agriculture Revenue Database, Native Agriculture & Land Use, and the Status of Native Lands. These thematic hubs curate our data tools for specific uses.

Start exploring the data tools on the NLIS today!

We hope this simple guide has helped introduce you to the many tools on the NLIS. Select a category below to begin exploring now, or contact us with any questions or suggestions you may have.

Data Dashboards

Our interactive dashboards make it possible to filter, compare, and explore the data, making complex data understandable.

Thematic Maps

Thematic maps allow you to visually explore & interact with various data layers across a landscape.


Storymaps are dynamic, interactive, and data-rich narratives that put data into context and inspire action.

Blog Posts

Our blog posts cover a vast array of topics and tend to highlight interesting data points from our tools.

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