Coming Soon: Indigenous Names for Cities of Turtle Island

 

The Decolonial Atlas Turtle Island Draft

The Decolonial Atlas’s Turtle Island project is a modern map of the continent from the perspective of its indigenous peoples. After 4 years of research and consultation with more than 80 indigenous communities from the tropics to the Arctic, the map is nearly ready to be released (unblurred and in high-resolution).

One noteworthy aspect of the map is that it identifies the indigenous name of almost every major city in Turtle Island. In many cases, these are names which are being revealed publicly for the first time.

Cities are the places where the precolonial history of the land has been most thoroughly erased, with the landscape bulldozed and made unrecognizable, and indigenous cultures largely removed and replaced by Western civilization. This entire continent is stolen land, but nowhere is that theft more apparent or egregious than in its cities, where the value assigned to land is astronomical, and yet there is not one instance of settlers offering fair compensation to the city’s original tenants. By naming and renaming these cities in the languages of their indigenous peoples, we are acknowledging their tenure, their right, their unextinguished claim to that land.

We hope that this map can help spark a dialogue about decolonization not just in tribal communities, but in every community across Turtle Island.

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