2020 Indigenous Communities Fellowship


Indigenous DC

A mobile application with digital maps featuring Native American sites of importance and contributions to the nation's capital city.

Team Lead

Elizabeth Rule

Solution Pitch

The Problem

When most people visit Washington D.C. they do not realize they are in the homelands of the Piscataway people. This is one symptom of a wider problem of persistent substantial bias against contemporary Native communities and a pervasive culture of invisibility. The perpetuation of stereotypical images of Native communities, erasure in popular culture, and misinformation in K-12 education generate substantial bias against contemporary Native communities and contribute to a culture of invisibility. 

The Solution

Seventy-eight percent of Americans report an interest in learning more about Native peoples, cultures, and issues. The Guide to Indigenous DC mobile application meets this need by deploying mapping technologies to shine a light on historical and contemporary Native American presence within Washington. Users of this free iOS application have access to a map of 17 sites of Indigenous importance, including photos, site descriptions, and external resources. Users can also generate geolocated walking/driving/metro directions to and from each site, or experience a virtual tour with 360-degree on-the-ground imaging. The virtual and accessibility features ensure that users can access this information from any location.

The publicly-facing Guide contributes to tribal historic preservation efforts in Washington, DC, and serves as a resource for educational institutions to use in conjunction with field trips and curricula. 


Public users have downloaded the Guide to Indigenous DC more than 2,000 times and completed over 4,000 tours of sites of Indigenous importance in Washington, DC

Market Opportunity

The DC tourist market is valued at $7.8 billion, K-12 students and educators at $703 billion, and higher education students and educators at $65.4 billion. Meanwhile, the online/virtual education market is projected to grow to $350 Billion by 2025. The Guide to Indigenous DC is well-suited to the conditions of these markets through its combination of Native American subject matter, virtual accessibility, educational material, and a free-of-charge iOS mobile app.

Organization Highlights

Some of Indigenous DC’s notable achievements include:

  • Featured on Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien and the Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness podcast

  • Covered in The Washington Post, Reuters, El Tiempo Latino, Indian Country Today, and more 

  • Spoke at the National Gallery of Art, National Congress of American Indians Tribal Leader-Scholar Forum, Ethics in Publishing Conference, DC History Conference, and more 

Partnership Goals

  • Indigenous DC is looking to partner with tribal nations, communities, and organizations interested in developing a guide to their community. 

  • Additionally, Indigenous DC is interested in partnering with experienced Indigenous coders capable of supporting app development. 

  • Lastly, Indigenous DC would love to partner with seasoned experts in tribal business development who can help support the growth and success of the app's next phases of development. 

Solver Team

Organization Type:

Washington D.C., United States


Working in:
Washington, D.C., Baltimore, National Universities and Colleges in the US



Solution Team:

  • Elizabeth Rule Assistant Professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies, American University

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