Interactive map of native lands

Originally published at: Interactive map of native lands | Boing Boing


Stumbled upon this a while ago and I love this map! Now I want them to add links to cookbooks or recipes and history books connected to the different areas. Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to learn about an area?
I have been scouring the web for recipes from the tribes that lived/live around here and they’re really hard to come by.


I appreciate the “work in progress” disclaimer. I live in an area where the major Indigenous group is subdivided into (at least) two groups. They do not get along at all. The larger group was “removed” during the Trail of Tears, and the other group stayed behind and “made peace” and so got to retain some land. That first “removed” group is now very angry that the group that stayed behind is getting recognized with land and all the casino revenue that comes with it. Each group claims to be the “true” inheritors, with the “stayed behind” group being tarred as “giving in to the whites” and benefiting from it. It’s an unhappy situation.


“Divide and conquer” happens soooo many different ways.


True, although that animosity could have long pre-dated European contact, and only been exacerbated by it. I have no idea. But it certainly true that internal divisions brought about a lot of conflict, even without European help.


Yes, it obviously couldn’t have been all sunshine and roses between the 500 or so nations that were here before European conquest. As in other places (like “the middle east”), it’s no surprise that some of those conflicts have endured.


Always crazy how all these place names one thinks as “familiar” are of Native American origin. And there so many of them: like 30%+ of all [no doubt, badly garbled] place-names are of, or named by, long extinct tribes.

Something peculiar about the settlers killing the inhabitants and retaining the place-name (as if to do so, somehow enhances their claim to ownership). Imagine Martian conquistadors living it up in “Times Square”, “Stonewall”, and “Nine-Eleven Memorial”, without having slightest idea what those names connote.


Find a facebook group or official page for those tribes, and hopefully they will have resources for things like recipes. At the very least you can learn about fry bread.

This is a very neat map. But it is also confusing. I feel like it should have a time line… maybe two or three eras worth. Also the ability to click on one territory and see it.

Most of it looks like traditional territorial areas. The Bodewadmimwen-Potawatomi area is the original area around the Great Lakes. But the area in Oklahoma has Potawatomi-Shawnee - which is after the forced migration to Kansas and later the land allotment in Oklahoma. So that suggests more recent borders. The Potawatomi Prairie Band is still in Kansas, but I don’t see them. And that is just the one tribe I know about. (and I could be wrong about something!)

Still, great resource that I am sure will only get better.


I know the post says “people of Earth” but the pic makes one assume USA.
It is a global map. Wow!

(Would be better if the post’s pic was this:)

Well, Arizona did end up having to rename a mountain peak and parkway because the old name was considered an obscenity. (which is surprisingly progressive for the state, all things considered.)

The Grande Tetons left a message. They said “Tiens ma bière.”

There doesn’t seem to be any reference date for the map. North Americans moved around a lot due to wars, migrations, disease, and climate change.

1 Like

Yes, this is so. Many of the Plains nations followed the herds of buffalo, as their primary source of meat and hides; others would move when an area had been hunted/gathered out and it was time to let nature replenish itself. Not surprising that there is a lot of overlap.


Many tribes, even those that farmed, had both seasonal and yearly migrations, following game and rotating areas that were farmed.


This kind of map is a tremendous resource, especially with the level of detail they have put in. Ultimately though I think for many regions the only way to really understand what is going on would be a series of maps for different years, the way they do with countries elsewhere.

For a famous example in the 17th century the Dakota and Lakota lived around the Great Lakes before moving west; they counted the Black Hills as their sacred territory, and yet are both shown a fair bit north of that now. I’m sure tracking those kinds of histories for all groups would be a major challenge, but I think even partial results would really help understand things.

Also I checked where I live. Of the overlapping groups, and at least one that is here seems to be missing, and two are not really in the region. :slight_frown:


Speaking of " Territory Acknowledgement" - in Chicago:


It seems to only cover about half the Earth, but I suppose it can get tricky.
eg, do modern Welsh people count as Celts? And what of the people who came before the Celts? Would the Cornish get their own area? Do they track anything after the Anglo-Saxons?


Yeah, but the rest of the map is inconsistent at best. How does one define a “native” in Europe? Theoretically most current populations of the respective countries there would have to be on there. And even if we restrict it to populations whose native culture and language was suppressed in recent memory, I can see why the Sami are in there, but why aren’t the Sorbs, Irish travellers or the population of the Baltic countries that underwent russification in the Soviet Union? Where are the South Tyroleans in Alto Adige or the Sinti and Roma everywhere (and yes, they do have territories that can be mapped, due to forced settlement in the early modern period). Not to mention the German minorities left in former German territories both to the east and the west (as politically difficult as it may be to incorporate them).

It would have been probably better if they had restricted their worthy project to (post) colonial countries, where things are clearer and such maps are more needed.

1 Like

As white Europeans are seen as the default and all others as “native” or “ethnic” things can get … sensitive.

Nation builders in Europe have deliberately and successfully destroyed the identity of European peoples. Both last world wars started in Europe with Nations v. Peoples and now many Europeans don’t like to think about this too much. I myself have (mostly|) Frisian blood but it is not something I feel I am, just something my ancestors were. I don’t even speak Frisian…

Places in Europe where native identities are still important (Ireland, Basque Country…) are also made more unstable because of this. ((I will argue that the European Union by breaking down the power of nations withing Europe while protecting local languages and identities does a good thing.))

But for obvious reasons this is very different for natives in the Americas or other former colonies where the (attempted) destruction of these identities were forced upon them by outsiders.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.