Souta Calling Last (Blackfeet/Blood) is the Founder and Executive Director of Indigenous Vision, a national educational nonprofit founded in 2015. Souta does not consider herself an environmentalist but more as a Blackfoot woman whose cultural practice is dependent on clean water and high functioning ecosystems. Her work on land and water protection started in childhood cleaning beaver ponds. She continued volunteering with streamside clean-ups, restorations, and community water education while obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in Environmental Studies Water Resources.
She later gained experience with her tribe as a Water Resource Specialist and Drinking Water Operator obtaining her Master’s degree in Innovative Leadership and Change Management from the University of Phoenix. Before founding Indigenous Vision, Souta served as an Environmental Specialist in a National Tribal Drinking Water Program. Her connection to the landscape remained unhindered and she continued to organize lake shore clean-ups at drinking water reservoirs in the Phoenix area. Souta believes the land is a storybook of information filled with ecological and climate knowledge and that honoring ancestral observation will protect the land and water and will promote ideal human health and wellness.
The Indigenous Vision Interactive Map is centered on empowering the Indigenous identity through virtual reclamation of traditional territories and asserting the Indigenous right and benefit of environmental stewardship. The resource will empower leaders, community members, and activists with a tool grounded in Tribal Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and reinforced by western science.
The virtual reclamation of our landscape narrative will be achieved through the science of Indigenous geography and map making technology that includes virtual reality experiences. TEK explains characteristics of the landscape and eye witness accounts of climate change marking the coming and going of various species. The Interactive Map and App is a revolutionary networking resource and educational tool that provides a platform to learn about history, culture, environmental science and efforts of protection. The project will allow for a large support network of native and non-native alike to educate and assist in the protection of land and water. Mapping layers focus on the risks and challenges to Indigenous stewardship and the close proximity of damaging industries and expansion of modern development.