First indigenous map of its kind; U.S. map displays “Our own names and locations”

Culture, Data, Design
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First indigenous map of its kind; U.S. map displays “Our own names and locations”

Aaron Carapella, a Cherokee Indian, has taken it upon himself to create a map that shows the Tribal nations of the U.S. prior to European contact. The map is of the contiguous United States and displays the original native tribal names of roughly 595 tribes, and of that, 150 tribes are without descendants. Without descendants means that there is no one known to be alive from that tribe and are believed to be extinct.

Aaron’s journey to making the Native American Nations map began 14 years ago. At the age of 19, Aaron had already gained a great deal of knowledge from listening to stories from his family, elders from his tribe, and reading books on Native American history. To explain where his knowledge came from Aaron said, “My Grandparents would tell me, you’re part Native American and that’s part of your history. They would give me books to read about different tribes’ histories, so, I grew up with a curiosity of always wanting to learn more about Native American history.”

After reading the many books on Native tribes and not finding any authentic type maps which failed to accurately represent the hundreds of modern day and historical tribes, Aaron decided to start creating a map for himself that would be authentic and cultural.  “The maps in the books were kind of cheesy, they only had maybe 50 to 100 tribes on them,” said Aaron.

The inspiration for the map to depict original tribal names came from a book that he was reading which explained the real names of tribes and reason they were given the names they have today.

“I didn’t want to make a map with just tribe’s given names on it. I wanted it to be accurate and from a Native perspective,” said Aaron.

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Tip of the Hat to Duane Hanstein at Scoop.it.