Cherokee Communities in Northeast Oklahoma

Cherokee Communities in Northeast Oklahoma

Cherokee Communities in Northeast Oklahoma. Source:

The Cherokee Nation (ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ / Tsalagihi Ayeli) is the largest federally-recognized tribe in the United States with 300,000 enrolled members. Headquartered in the city of Tahlequah (ᏓᎵᏆ), the Cherokee Nation has a tribal jurisdictional area spanning 14 counties in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma – an area where the Cherokee people resettled after being forced from their homeland following the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and subsequent Trail of Tears (ᎨᏥᎧᎲᏓ ᎠᏁᎬᎢ). The map on the left shows rivers, lakes, counties, and Cherokee communities in Northeast Oklahoma labelled in English, while the map on the right is labelled in the Cherokee language (ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ / Tsalagi Gawonihisdi).

For more Cherokee maps, visit

Space Pollution

Satellites and Debris in Low Earth Orbit, 1960-2010

Satellites and Debris in Low Earth Orbit, 1960-2010

Earlier this week, Pope Francis complained that “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” Even seen from outer space, that is certainly true. In just half a century, humans have put 6,600 artificial satellites into orbit, of which 3,600 remain in orbit and just 1,000 remain operational. Old satellites have broken down from disintegration, erosion and collisions, leaving hundreds of thousands of smaller pieces of debris cluttering around the Earth. Even if no new satellites are launched, there is a chance that colliding satellites will create even more more space debris in a runaway chain reaction.


Indigenous Land in Australia 1788-2013

A snapshot of Indigenous held land in Australia 1788–2013

A snapshot of Indigenous held land in Australia 1788–2013 by Francis Markham and Jon Altman

In 1788 Indigenous nations possessed the entire continent of Australia. Then during a prolonged period of land grab from 1788 to the late 1960s Indigenous peoples were dispossessed. But then, from the late 1960s, there has been an extraordinary period of rapid legal repossession and restitution that is ongoing. This has not occurred as part of some coherent policy framework, but rather as a somewhat ad hoc land titling ‘revolution’ driven intermittently by political, social justice and judicial imperatives.

The question arises: If the logic of settler colonialism and market capitalism is dispossession, why have powerful state and corporate interests tolerated legal repossession? Professor Jon Altman from the Australian National University, Canberra offers his answers to this paradox and a fantastic set of maps in his 2014 paper, “The Political Ecology and Political Economy of the Indigenous Land Titling ‘Revolution’ in Australia.”


Decline of Cornish


Kernowek (Cornish) speaking areas, 1300-1750

Kernowek (Cornish) is the native Celtic language of the Kernowyon (Cornish people), who live in the in the Southwest peninsula of the island of Breten Veur (Great Britain). For many centuries, the language was in perpetual decline as the Kernowyon gradually adopted English as their common language. Some time in the 18th or 19th centuries, the language may have gone extinct. Since the 20th century, a conscious effort has been made to revive Kernowek, and today it is estimated that there are 2,000 fluent speakers.


Indigenous Place Names in the Upper Tennessee Valley

Indigenous Protohistoric Place Names in the Upper Tennessee Valley by Woktela D.K. Hackett and Jordan Engel

Indigenous Protohistoric Place Names in the Upper Tennessee Valley by Woktela D.K. Hackett and Jordan Engel

This map details the protohistoric names of Kallamuchee (the Tennessee River), its tributaries, and regional landforms. The area – present-day TN, NC, VA, and KY – is the traditional homeland of the Yuchi people, who call themselves Tsoyaha, or “Children of the sun”.  Except where noted below, most of the names come from Ge’wedene Yudjiha (the Yuchi language).

Map by Woktela D.K. Hackett, Yuchi Tribal Historian, and Jordan Engel

Indigenous Name – “Translation” – English Name
Agiqua (Agikwa) – “Long Tow River” – French Broad River
Canot (Caono) – “Eagle River” – Little River
Euphasee (Yufatse) – “Great Paddle River” – Hiawasee River
Kallamuchee (K’alaw’ayuchi) – “Yuchi Run” – Tennessee River
Hogoheegee (Gugegee) – “Yuchi People” (Lenape origin) – Holston River
Ocoee (Wocoee) – “Canoe Jump” – Ocoee River
Ogeechee (Hohoheegee) – “Yuchi People” (Algonquian origin) – Ogeechee River
Nonachunkeh – “Foot of Mountains River” – Nolichucky River
Pellissippi (Pelecenepi) – “Yonder Drink” – Clinch River
Ptsaliko (Cittico Satico) – “Stand Together as Shield” – Tellico River
Sequatchee (S’akwachi) – “Woodpecker’s Eye” – Sequatchie River
Swannanoah (Xawaeno) – “Snake Spirit” – Swannanoah River
Tanasee (Tanatse) – “Brother Water” – Little Tennessee River
Warioto – (Unknown origin) – Cumberland River
Wataga – “Bass many” – Watauga river
Yudap’athotha – “Great Turtle’s Backbone” – Walden Ridge
Yuk’u – “Great Valley” – Great Appalachian Valley
Yunekgah – “Great Rattlesnake” – 
Appalachian Mountains

Place-Name Etymology in Western Hemisphere

Place-Name Etymology by Bill Rankin, 2003

Place-Name Etymology by Bill Rankin

Two kinds of colonial naming: erasure and appropriation. But when it’s always the colonists doing the naming, is one really preferable to the other? The recently created Nunavut (Inuktitut for “our land”) is perhaps the only exception in the hemisphere.

Colored regions show names from the same language family (as categorized by the Ethnologue), and seem to indicate the rough extent of various tribes. But places like “Mississippi” (Algonquian for “large river”) and “Wyoming” (Lenape for a grassy area) were moved thousands of miles by European settlers. Compare this map to Wikipedia’s reconstruction of pre-colonial language distribution: “Nebraska” erases the memory of its Caddoan speakers, and the use of the Iroquoian “Ontario” throughout that (very large) province does not acknowledge the traditional lands of the Ojibwe nations north of Lake Huron.

Even a pejorative can become a proper name: “Huron” derives from a French slur for the hairy natives (it shares a root with “hirsute”).

This is version 2.1, with a bipolar azimuthal equal-area projection.

– Bill Rankin, 2003