Geographic Controversy over the Bowman Expeditions / México Indígena

These are some links on the issues surrounding the México Indígena project at the University of Kansas, so geography students and other academic researchers can become more aware of the controversy involving its connection to the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) nearby at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It is useful to understand the larger context of military targeting of Indigenous dissent in the hemisphere, and the division and privatization of Indigenous collective lands — a background which has generated concerns about the project.

The México Indígena project, part of the larger “Bowman Expeditions,” was jointly funded by the FMSO and the American Geographical Society (AGS), working with the weapons company Radiance Technologies. It was coordinated by Kansas geography professors Peter Herlihy and Jerome Dobson, working with the FMSO’s Geoffrey Demarest and Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi (UASLP) Professor Miguel Aguilar Robledo.


Declaration of Key Questions about Research Ethics with Indigenous Communities, by the AAG Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group (10/10)

Letter from AAG Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group (IPSG) to AAG Board (4/14/09)

Letter from IPSG Co-Chairs to San Miguel Tiltepec municipal authority (4/14/09) En español

Discussion Paper on Research and Indigenous Peoples (Renee Pualani Louis and Zoltán Grossman, Co-Chairs, AAG Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group, 3/09)

Request that the AAG conduct an inquiry into a violation of the ethical norms of geography (Joe Bryan and Joel Wainwright, 3/16/09); Follow-up letter (4/8/09)


Online documentary film: The Demarest Factor: U.S. military mapping of indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico (Simón Sedillo, 2010, 55 minutes, bilingual)

Geopiracy: Oaxaca, militant empiricism, and geographical thought. New York: Palgrave Macmillan (Joel Wainwright, 2012)

Weaponizing Maps: Indigenous Peoples and Counterinsurgency in the Americas. New York: Guilford Press (Joe Bryan and Denis Wood, 2015)

Geography Counterinsurgent (Joel Wainwright, Counterpunch, 12/16/12)

Position of San Juan Yagila: Xidza Declaration on Geopiracy (7/24/11)

Position of San Miguel Tiltepec on México Indígena (Rogelio Hernández & Bernardino Montaño Mendoza, 3/17/09). (Press Conference in Spanish on YouTube, 3/17/09)

Force multipliers: Geography, militarism, and the Bowman Expeditions (Joe Bryan, Political Geography 2010, 1-3)

Multiplicadores de fuerza: geografia, militarismo, y las Expediciones Bowman (Joe Bryan, Political Geography 2010, 1-3)

A living space: The relationship between land and property in the community (Melquiades (Kiado) Cruz, Political Geography 2010, 1-2)

DoD-funded mapping project to participate in the 2011 World Human Geography Conference (El Enemigo Comun, 9/14/11)

U.S. Military Funded Mapping Project in Oaxaca (Cyril Mychalejko and Ramor Ryan, Z magazine, 4/09).

Military-backed Mapping Project in Oaxaca Under Fire (Cyril Mychalejko and Ramor Ryan, UpsideDownWorld, 4/24/09).

Threat of Genocide: US Military Mapping Against Mexico’s Indigenous (Simon Sedillo, 7-8/09)

The Demarest Factor: The Ethics of Department Of Defense Funding for Academic Research, (Simón Sedillo, 3/14/09)

Interview with UNOSJO Indigenous Rights Officer Aldo González on mapping controversy in Oaxaca (Ramon Ryan, 3/12/09)

Zapotec Indigenous People in Mexico Demand Transparency from U.S. Scholar (Saulo Araujo, 1/22/09).

Geographic Survey Project of the Sierra Juarez Mountains Stirs Protests , (Nancy Davies, WikiLeaks, 2/21/09)

Human Terrain System Meets the Bowman Expeditions (John Stanton, 1/29/09)

Enemigo Común (webpage on México Indígena project)

The Road to Hell (Enemigo Común)

Wikipedia article on México Indígena


American Geographical Society (AGS) press release

Jerome Dobson statement

AGS Bowman Expedition México Indígena Ethics

México Indígena on “Misconceptions”

Self-appointed gatekeepers attack the American Geographical Society’s first Bowman Expedition (Peter H. Herlihy, Political Geography 2010, 1-3)

Guardianes autoproclamados atacan la primera Expedicion Bowman de la Sociedad Geografica Americana (Peter H. Herlihy, Political Geography 2010, 1-3)

World Human Geography Conference: Communities and Ethics (Lawrence, Kansas, 9/15-16/11)


Bowman Expeditions website (México Indígena)

AGS Bowman Expeditions

Executive Summary of “México Indígena: Mexican Open-Source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Project Final Report, Year One”, By Peter H. Herlihy, Derek A. Smith John H. Kelly, Jerome E. Dobson, 6/5/06. Prepared by the Radiance Research Team for the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) and the American Geographical Society (AGS).

A Digital Geography of Indigenous Mexico: Prototype for the American Geographical Society’s Bowman Expeditions, by Peter H. Herlihy, Jerome E. Dobson; Miguel Aguilar Robledo; Derek A. Smith; Kelly, John H.; Aida Ramos Viera (Geographical Review, July 2008)

Lawrence newspaper

ESRI article

Map Room article


Geoffrey Demarest, IberoAmerica researcher at the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office, representative on México Indígena project.

Geopolitics and Urban Armed Conflict in Latin America, by Geoffrey Demarest, FMSO. Small Wars and Insurgencies, Vol. 6, No.1 (Spring 95)

The Overlap of Military and Police in Latin America, by LTC Geoffrey Demarest, FMSO (4/9/95)

Mapping Colombia: the Correlation between Land Data and Strategy, by Geoffrey Demarest, FMSO (3/03).

Expeditionary Police Service, by LTC Geoffrey Demarest, FMSO (Military Review, 6/93).

The Strategic Implications of Operational Law, by LTC Geoffrey Demarest, FMSO (4/95).

Geoproperty book by Geoff Demarest (See pages 84, 91, 243 — or just Search for “indigenous”)

Jerome Dobson biography

Jerome Dobson in AGS newsletter Ubique (2/06)

Fort Leavenworth Hosts AGS Council; meeting with Gen. Petraeus, in Ubique (12/06)

Geoslavery article by Jerome Dobson (additional link)

David J. Keeling (Western Kentucky University)

Bowman Expedition in Medellín, Colombia (David J. Keeling, Western Kentucky University Department of Geography)


Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Insurgencies, Terrorist Groups and Indigenous Movements: An Annotated Bibliography (Mr. Gerard Gato, Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS) in Military Review, 7-8/99

Civil Information Management in Support of Counterinsurgency Operations: A Case for the Use of Geospatial Information Systems in Colombia by Maj. José M. Madera, FMSO. US Army Reserve, School of Advanced Military Studies, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth (AY 05-06).

Mexico’s Other Insurgents.” (Graham H. Turbiville, Jr.) in Military Review, May-June 1997, pp. 81-90.

Law Enforcement and the Mexican Armed Forces: New Internal Security Missions Challenge the Military (FMSO)

US-Mexican Border Security: Civil-Military Cooperation (FMSO)

Mexican Security (FMSO)

Insurrection: An Analysis Of The Chiapas Uprising (FMSO)

Mexico’s Evolving Security Posture (FMSO)

Mexico’s Multimission Force for Internal Security (FMSO)

The Death Cult of the Drug Lords Mexico’s Patron Saint of Crime, Criminals, and the Dispossessed (FMSO)


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (see Article 11/2)

The Global War on Tribes (Zoltán Grossman, Z magazine, 6/2/10)

Mapping, Indigenous Research Ethics, and the “Global War on Tribes” (Zoltán Grossman, Presentation to University of Victoria Department of Geography, 2/24/17).

‘War on Terror’ Has Latin American Indigenous People in Its Sights (Gustavo González, Inter Press Service, 6/6/05)

The Threat of Hope in Latin America (Naomi Klein, The Nation, 11/4/05)

NIC Report on Mapping the Global Future 2020 (by the National Intelligence Council). Includes “Latin America in 2020: Will Globalization Cause the Region to Split?” (pp. 78-95). Summary

Human Terrain in Oaxaca (Dustin Oneman, Savage Minds, 2/5/09)