AT&T CIPP Director Elizabeth Rule Named MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellow

Elizabeth Rule 2020 Indigenous Communities Fellow MIT Solve with image of an App open on a cell phone
December 12, 2020

Congratulations! Dr. Elizabeth Rule, Director of our AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics & Policy (AT&T CIPP), is one of eight fellows recognized by MIT Solve for building innovative projects that blend technology with traditional knowledge. She will receive $10,000 to further develop the Guide to Indigenous D.C. mobile app and expand the project to additional regions.

What is the MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellowship?
MIT Solve is an initiative by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to support the development of tech-based social impact solutions through open innovation challenges. Its Indigenous Communities Fellowship focuses on providing Native American innovators with the support and resources necessary to advance their work.

What is the Guide to Indigenous D.C. App?
The Guide to Indigenous D.C. is a free iOS mobile application developed by Dr. Rule. Initially launched in 2019, it features maps and easily navigable tours that highlight sites of significance to Native peoples within the nation’s capital. Users can generate geolocated walking, driving and metro directions to and from each site, and a virtual tour with 360-degree on-the-ground imaging is available. The app also features a library of location-based stories, photos and external resources that reclaim Washington, D.C. as a place of tribal gathering, presence and advocacy.

The Guide, covered by over 30 media outlets in 2019, contributes to tribal historic preservation efforts and serves as an interactive resource for educational institutions, tourists, and others interested in understanding the contributions and perspectives of Indigenous peoples in the United States.

How will the funding from the Fellowship help her expand the app?
With the support of the Indigenous Communities Fellowship, Dr. Rule plans to expand the app to include other cities, offer additional features and content and create a much-anticipated Android version.

“Within the next five years, my goal is to expand the digital map offerings within the app through collaborative partnerships with tribal nations and Indigenous organizations,” writes Dr. Rule. “I also plan to develop specific teaching materials to accompany the application that can be implemented within K-12 schools broadly.”  

Any related projects coming?
Similar GIS-powered projects are also on the horizon, including the upcoming Guide to Tribal Colleges and Universities – a digital map of national scale created in partnership with the American Indian College Fund that charts the locations, histories and educational offerings of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States.

Dr. Elizabeth Rule is the Director of the AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy, Assistant Professor, and Faculty in Residence at the George Washington University. Her work has been published in American Quarterly and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and her research has been featured in The Atlantic and on NPR. She is an enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.