A new indigenous map has been introduced to the public domain which depicts the original territories and correct names of the the Indigenous people of North America. It is the work of Aaron Carapella, a Cherokee of Oklahoma who created the map from humble beginnings.
“I don’t have any formal training in cartography. I have a degree in marketing.” says Carapella. “I just plotted them on an actual cardboard; four posters together and put the names in over years.”
Carapella brought his research together with a graphic designer and together they came up with three maps; one showing mainland U.S.A., one showing only Canada, and the other the North American content in its entirety. “I was the nerdy kid who was into native history.” Carapella joked. “I would go to pow wows and I’d see these maps and they were kind of cheesy; there was only 50 tribes in all of North America.
Unsatisfied with this, he researched American copyrights to see if a similar map existed and found none. This is the first map produced which includes all North American indigenous nations in their own languages on their original lands. It is now being brought into the school systems across the country, libraries and restoring perspectives on the foundations of the North American continent.
Over the years Carapella was careful to contact members from the traditional community of each nation to verify the spelling and the original area each nation came from. Carapella observed, “I’ve noticed a trend that people maintain their own tribal name based on being in their traditional homeland. I think a lot of it is because the names they used for themselves usually are descriptive phrases. So, a lot of tribes call themselves, ‘we are the people at the mouth of the river’. If you have been removed from your territory through the trail of tears, or the long walk by like a thousand miles from where that mouth of the river is people no longer think of themselves as ‘the people at the mouth of the river’. When you get dispossessed of your traditional homeland, there is a cultural rift that happens. A loss that happens from being off of where you are supposed to be.”
The work is still in progress. Carapella intends on gathering names and places for Alaska, Mexico and the rest of the indigenous nations of North America. “I’m constantly updating them.” he stated.
The maps are available for purchase on his website http://tribalnationsmaps.com. There is also a new project in the works for folks to purchase hats and t-shirts bearing the original names of the nations.