Using Historical Maps to tell the Story of Indian-White Relations in the Great Plains

Authors: Daniel Cole*, Smithsonian Institution
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Cartography, Historical Geography
Keywords: American Indians, Native Americans, cartography, history
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 4
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This is an historical cartographic analysis of Native American and Euro-American relations throughout the Great Plains. I will explore threefold the roles of government, academic, and tribal mapping, and bring them together with some findings concerning Native American land tenure, population and related activities. As can be seen, the historic and contemporary cartography has included, albeit selectively at times, spatial data on American Indian territories, land claims, villages, and populations, most of which required information from Native cartographers and other Indigenous informants. Many of these Indigenous people have been and continue to be cartographers, or at the very least, have excellent geographic knowledge of their landscapes. All of these issues are involved in the affairs of American Indians and will be discussed to analyze the ongoing spatial activities across the dynamic landscape of Native America.

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