This post has been planned since late last summer, before I fell off the map (har har) for a while. It’s slightly out of date, as it were, but here goes – before posting the new content, I’ll clear up all the (two!) posts I had planned previously.
Not a new story, but (via the CBC):
Canadian Geographic has created a giant floor map, and an accompanying Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, to change the way kids — and adults — look at this country.“We hear so much about truth and reconciliation and what does it mean in reconciling our understanding and knowledge,” said Charlene Bearhead, an education advisor for the map and the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada.
The map does not contain provincial boundaries, names of provinces, or many of the current names of cities and towns. Instead, it outlines the different Indigenous communities found across the country, the languages spoken, and the treaties signed with the Crown.
“For the most part Indigenous people walk on the map and it makes sense and they are like, ‘I know where this is, I know the story of this place for my people,'” said Bearhead.
“Non-Indigenous people walk onto the map and have this blank look on their faces,” a reaction Bearhead recognizes once they realize there are no provincial boundaries drawn on the map.After a bit of confusion, Bearhead said what often follows are lengthy discussions of Indigenous histories and experiences.
“People always say that mapping is a colonial tool, or a tool of colonialism, and it certainly has been used in that way, but I think the power of mapping is that there is so much power in it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be oppressive,” said Annita Lucchesi, a doctoral student in the cultural, social, and political thought program at the University of Lethbridge.
“It can be liberating. It can be healing. It can be empowering, especially when it’s being used by people who have been historically oppressed.”
The Southern Cheyenne cartographer is creating an atlas of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada and the U.S. So far, Lucchesi has helped document over 3,000 cases, some reaching as far back as 1900.
“The beauty of maps is we can share as much or as little as we like and it still makes sense. We get to decide where those boundaries are. We get to decide what colours to use, what symbols to use, we can put cultural ideas on them. They’re so flexible and there’s so much freedom in that that it’s really a liberating form of storytelling.”
Lucchesi said she hopes that through her work with Indigenous mapping, new relationships between Canada and Indigenous peoples can be created.
“Through mapping we’re able to tell stories to each other that help us to build better relationships, help us to understand one another a little bit better so that we can respect the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples.”
Story at the link.
For more maps of Turtle Island, see here, with other links, too:
Native Land is a Google Map of the territories and languages of the indigenous peoples of the United States and Canada. The map consists of two main layers, one showing the ‘territory’ of First Nation and Native American tribes and the other showing the geographical spread of indigenous languages.
Natives of North America is another interactive map of the Native American Nations. Obviously one of the biggest problems in mapping Native American territories is that official boundaries between the Nations did not exist and these territories were constantly shifting.
The Invasion of America is a fascinating map of Native American land cession between 1776 and 1887. During this period the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from the Native Americans.