IndigenousMap: "Mapping Indigenous American Cultures and Living Histories”

September 5, 2018
Janet Hess

Janet Hess, Professor of Art History/African Studies Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, is the driving force behind this project.

IndigenousMap: "Mapping Indigenous American Cultures and Living Histories” will produce a digital map of indigenous tribal and national regions, cultural histories, and non-archaeological data, focusing on the California tribes of the Modoc and Pomo/Miwok (the Federated Tribes of Graton Rancheria), and the once-dominant plains nation of the Osage. The grant will support the prototype for an open-access, online map for the general public and scholars to engage with tribally approved data related to indigenous peoples of the United States. 

The project, informed by Harvard University’s Africa map and built with the assistance of digital mapmaker Victor Temprano and the advice of many indigenous elders, will provide data from tribal museums, natural history, and art museums, private collections, and regional libraries and digital archives in one location.  "IndigenousMap" will document the continued presence and vitality of indigenous cultures, and help protect imperiled cultural languages and practices, providing a more inclusive and nuanced vision of what is understood as "American" history.  

Since the announcement of the grant many have stepped forward to collaborate on the project, including the creators of the "Early California Cultural Atlas" at U.C. Berkeley, and "Mapping Indigenous L.A." at U.C.L.A.   Many generous faculty and staff at Sonoma State University assisted me with this project in a range of ways, including Kristin Denver, Stephanie Dyer, Thaine Stearns, Nicole Ream, Greg Sarris, and Michael Ezra.