The Deforestation and Colonization of Aotearoa

Māori land in Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island), 1860–1939

Māori land in Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island), 1860–1939

Forest cover of Aotearoa (New Zealand), 1840-present day.

Forest cover of Aotearoa (New Zealand), 1840-present day.

Similar to the United States and just about every other settler colony (see the US counterpart map – https://decolonialatlas.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/the-deforestation-and-colonization-of-the-united-states/ ) European settlers in Aotearoa (New Zealand) had to first remove the Māori from the land before they could begin to extract resources from it – in this case, timber. As Māori land holdings decreased since the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, so too did the forests of Aotearoa. This may have been a contributing factor in the extinction of dozens of endemic bird species since European colonization – the introduction of predatory mammals to Aotearoa being another large factor.

Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Place-names

Skicinuwihkuk (in or on Native land) in Skicinuwatuwewakon (the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language), by Jordan Engel and Robert Leavitt

Skicinuwihkuk (in or on Native land) in Skicinuwatuwewakon (the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language), by Jordan Engel and Robert Leavitt

Peskotomuhkatik (in Passamaquoddy territory) in

Peskotomuhkatik (in Passamaquoddy territory) in Skicinuwatuwewakon (the Passamaquoddy-Maliseet language), by Jordan Engel and Robert Leavitt

Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Place-names

Originally all Passamaquoddy-Maliseet place-names were either nouns with a locative ending or, more often, verb forms with a locative meaning. Each of these place-names describes a particular natural feature of the land or water. The description may apply to a prominent, extended feature, such as a river or island, or a small, local feature, such as a mudflat, rocky outcrop, or shoal.

Place names mean literally in, at, or to the place where. The following are approximate translations.

Ktotonuk – at the big mountain
Qonasqamkuk – at the sandy point
Meqtoqek – where the river is red (reddish soil along banks)
Sakotiyamkiyak – where there is a long straight sandbar
Metaksonekiyak – where shoes wear it down (portage trail)

Some of the place-names on the accompanying maps are native-language versions of the English or French names (borrowings, translations, or a combination of these).

Akastik – in Augusta, ME (ah-GAH-steeg)
Kelisk – in Calais, ME (GEH-leesk)
Sitansisk – at Little St. Anne’s (Fredericton, NB)
…Sitan (pronunciation of Ste.-Anne), sis (diminutive ending), k (locative ending) (ZEE-dahn-seesk)
Otuhkelenk – on Deer Island, NB
…otuhk (deer), elen (pronunciation of “island”), k (locative ending) (uh-DOOK-eh-lenk)

The literal meanings of some of the place-names still known and used have been lost. In addition, it is often difficult to reconstruct original Passamaquoddy-Maliseet place-names from the English versions, because of changes in pronunciation and the shortening of long native-language words. For example, the original name of Saco, Maine, keeps only the first two syllables of Sakotiyamkiyak; and the name Metaksonekiyak (meh-tahk-suh-NEG-ee-yahg) became Meduxnekeag (meh-DUX-nuh-keg) in English.

Although pronunciations may have changed, Maine and New Brunswick still use a great many of the Passamaquoddy and Maliseet place-names learned by early European visitors to Peskotomuhkatik and Wolastokuk.

The cardinal directions in Passamaquoddy-Maliseet are also named descriptively, some with reference to a prevailing wind.

lahtoqehsonuk – north (wind)
cipenuk – east (may refer to rising sun)
sawonehsonuk – south (wind)
sonutsekotonuk – southwest (literally, heading along the coast)
skiyahsonuk – west (wind)

Orientation to a south-facing coast is reflected in the following words, used to describe the changing length of the day as the year progresses.

cicokawse – s/he walks back toward land; (sun) s/he rises farther toward the north each day (i.e., days are getting longer) (also, nahtokawse)
milawuhse – s/he walks out into the water; (sun) s/he rises farther to the south each day (i.e., days are getting shorter) (also, wesuwewse)

For additional place-names and geographic terms, see the online Passamaquoddy-Maliseet dictionary at http://www.pmportal.org.

North America in Navajo

Náhookǫsjí Kéyah dah siʼánígíí (North America) in Diné bizaad (Navajo), by Jordan Engel

Náhookǫsjí Kéyah dah siʼánígíí (North America) in Diné bizaad (Navajo), by Jordan Engel

At 27,425 square miles, Diné Bikéyah (the Navajo Nation) is the largest indigenous land base in the United States that is legally recognized by the United States government. This map is a celebration of the akʼídádéestʼį́į́ʼ (sovereignty) of Diné Bikéyah.

The Headwaters of the Mississippi River in Ojibwe

Wenji-maajiijiwang (From Where the Waters Start to Flow) - The Headwaters of the Mississippi River - in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), by Charles Lippert and Jordan Engel

Wenji-maajiijiwang (From Where the Waters Start to Flow) – The Headwaters of the Mississippi River in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), by Charles Lippert and Jordan Engel

Where a river begins and ends is not decided by nature. Rather, it’s a subjective process that often varies between indigenous and colonial cultures. For instance, American settlers understand that the Allegheny River flows into the Ohio River at Pittsburgh, while the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) understand them as one river, called Ohí:io. And what settlers call the Tennessee River actually has many names in Yuchi – Chaovannon, Kallamuchee, Kaskinampo, Callamaco, Cootela, Hogohegee, Pellissippi, Nonachunkeh, Euphasee – depending on which tributary is honored as the main branch.

Settlers say that the source of the Mississippi is Lake Itasca in Minnesota. Between Lake Itasca and the Gulf of Mexico, there are six distinct names for the river in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe). They are:

* Omashkoozo-ziibi (Elk River) – The Mississippi River between Lake Itasca and Lake Bemidji
* Bemijigamaag-ziibi (Traversing Lake’s River) – The Mississippi River between Lake Bemidji and Cass Lake
* Gaa-miskwaawaakokaag-ziibi (River abundant with Red Cedar) – The Mississippi River between Cass Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish
* Wiinibiigoonzhish-ziibi (Little Stagnant Murky River) – The Mississippi River between Lake Winnibigoshish and the Leech Lake River
* Gichi-ziibi (Big River) – The Mississippi River between the Leech Lake River and the Crow Wing River
* Misi-ziibi (Great River) – The Mississippi River between the Crow Wing River and the Gulf of Mexico

Other names on the map:
* Omashkoozo-zaaga’igan (Elk Lake) – Lake Itasca
* Bemijigamaag-zaaga’igan (Traversing Lake) – Lake Bemidji and Lake Irving. These are considered a single lake in Ojibwe.
* Gaa-miskwaawaakokaag-zaaga’igan (Abundant with Red Cedar Lake) – Cass Lake
* Wiinibiigoonzhish-zaaga’igan (Little Stagnant Murky Lake) – Lake Winnibigoshish
* Ozagaskwaajimekaag-zaaga’igan (Abundant with Leeches Lake) – Leech Lake
* Ozagaskwaajimekaag-ziibi (Abundant with Leeches River) – The Leech Lake River
* Gaa-mitaawangaagamaag-zaaga’igan – Big Sandy Lake. For the Gichiziibiwininiwag (Mississippi Ojibwe), Big Sandy Lake is a culturally important location.
* Gaagaagiwigwani-ziibi (Raven’s Feather River) – The Crow Wing River

***A note on the compass – The Anishinaabe traditionally orient themselves to the East, which is why East appears at the top of this map. Because the standard orientation is different in European and Anishinaabe cultures, we’ve included the English word “North” and the Anishinaabemowin word “Waabang,” meaning East, on the compass. The compass rose itself is in the form of a medicine wheel, an indigenous symbol used across the continent to denote the four directions.

Menominee Place Names Map

See the interactive Menominee Place Names  Map at http://www4.uwsp.edu/museum/menomineeClans/places/flashmap.html

See the interactive Menominee Place Names Map at http://www4.uwsp.edu/museum/menomineeClans/places/flashmap.html

“The Menominee Place Names Map represents over 30 years of research and interviews by Ci:hkwa:nahkwat (Mike Hoffman), enrolled Menominee and Ottawa descendant. He is a Menominee Language instructor and the Cultural Consultant and Advisor to the Menominne Clans Story housed at the Museum of Natural History at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point (UWSP). Click on the map to hear the original Menominee names for sites across the ancestral homeland of the Menominee. Thanks to the people of UWSP who helped produce the technology that holds this amazing cultural content.”

Thanks for sharing, Karen!

See the interactive Menominee Place Names Map  of Wisconsin at  http://www4.uwsp.edu/museum/menomineeClans/places/flashmap.html