Political boundaries are fluid over time. Unlike a river or a mountain range, they are merely human constructs. This is an important truth that children should learn.
This map will help students understand where (in general) the people of several major Native American nations were living some four hundred years ago when Europeans began visiting this area with increasing frequency. Youngsters will see that quite a few different Native American cultures were coexisting in this part of the Northeastern Forestlands – before the epidemics and tragic wars that would follow soon after European colonization. Fortunately, many people with Native American ancestry continue to live in this region (some keenly aware of their heritage; others not).
This map can be used in many ways. For example, most generally, it exercises students’ skills at deciphering texts that describe spatial position. In terms of cultural competencies, it can be useful for building young peoples’ knowledge of the names used by early European chroniclers (and later academics) to describe important political and cultural entities flourishing in this region in the years immediately preceding European colonization. The map can also serve as a prompt for discussions about the primacy of Native American ownership, title, and rights to the NE forestlands and waters (recognizing that even these terms may be expressions of a non-Indigenous conceptual framing / mindset).
Further study and conversation is encouraged. The goal is to assist youngsters as they develop a deeper, more nuanced, and informed appreciation of the complexities and ethical implications of this region’s history.
Here’s the PDF of the map: Native American Homelands EB