Monday, March 27, 2017

Alternatives to Aaron Carapella's "Tribal Nations Map"

A few years ago, Aaron Carapella launched his Tribal Nations Maps website. At first glance, the project seemed terrific, but a close look revealed a lot of problems.

People--some who are scholars, others who are resource people for their particular nation, and some who are teachers--spotted problems and began to talk about those problems on social media. Among the problems with his maps are the sheer volume he tried to put on a fixed page. Native Nations moved and were removed over time. So--where he shows a given nation can be incomplete or wrong altogether. Another problem is that he tried to tell Native peoples the right name to use--based on his research which many told him was wrong, but he persisted and told them they are wrong. Another is that he used photographs in the public domain--much like people have used them forever--which means replicating problems in the photos themselves and how they were taken and used. An admirable project, yes, but when you get down to the product itself, problems! Nonetheless, Carapella continues to sell his maps.

Some people recommended alternatives to Carapella's maps. I'm sharing their recommendations, below. Some are maps, and some are in-depth looks at the concept of mapping. If you've got one to recommend, drop it in the comments.

Important! A first step, always, is to go right to the website of the specific nation you're interested in. See if they've got maps you can study.

The Invasion of America is a time lapse map project created by Claudio Saunt. It's interactive features provide a lot of information teachers will find useful. (Added here on 3/27/17.)

Maps are Territories is a close look at the concept of mapping. There's terrific material all through that site. If you're a teacher who asks students to make maps, study the site before you do your mapping projects. Recommended by Eric Ritskes.  (Added here on 3/27/17.)

Yuhaviatam (People of the Pines) is a map of Native peoples in southern California. Recommended by Pamela Peters. (Added here on 3/27/17.)

Yup'ik Environmental Knowledge Project Atlas is interactive and was created by elders. (Added here on 3/27/17.)

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