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Indigenous Names and Places on Map gives true perspective on North America

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.

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.

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Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow is Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations. Nahnda has been a journalist with the Two Row Times since it's founding in 2013. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a Haudenosaunee cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado. Nahnda is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

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  • Aharon Varady
    December 29, 2013, 1:04 am

    This sounds great but I was confused by the statement that this map/map data is being “introduced to the public domain.” So I looked at Aaron’s webpage and it clearly indicates this work is copyright to him. So actually, it’ll be in the Public Domain many, many years from now. If Aaron changes his mind, this definitely looks like a great project that others can build upon. If he chooses to do so, I hope he’ll consider sharing his map and map data with a Creative Commons attribution (CC-BY) license.

    • Pentortoise@Aharon Varady
      January 5, 2014, 5:17 pm

      Id say depends one what Nation Aaron is allegiant to, There is room for all nations to decide what copyright is, maybe he is in violation for adding names of tribes that have laws against it, but so far as is, He is using Canadian and American law,.. What if a Mohawk made and sold these, how would Aaron gain jurisdiction over the mohawk, is there a mutual legal agreement that speaks to that relationship… funny because I think mohawks could just go a head and patent the iphone tech in their jurisdiction and sell it too :P

  • SierraRose
    December 28, 2013, 3:03 pm

    Original territories? That would imply a permanently settled home back to the origin of occupation. No migration allowed. Let us once again embrace the concept of the “Noble Savage” living in perfect harmony with nature and each other. No conflicts, no environmental degredation, no truth.

    • Aaron Carapella@SierraRose
      January 21, 2014, 5:16 pm

      It implies the homeland where Nations lived before Europeans invaded, introduced disease, and genocide. Your attempt to mask your racism did not go unseen SierraRose. It also denotes our own view that our homelands were given to us by the Creator, a concept you cannot comprehend since your people voluntarily gave up the homelands that the Creator gave to you

  • Corinna
    December 28, 2013, 1:22 pm

    This is great but you’re missing a couple tribes in the Maidu area. The Konkow and Nisenan, they tend feel left out often.

  • Pentortoise
    November 21, 2013, 1:46 pm

    wow thank you, thats great .

  • Jonathan Garlow
    November 20, 2013, 5:22 pm

    :( was hoping for a large pic of the map!



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