The Modern Era After 1900

An unsuccessful proposition to create the State of Sequoyah, mapped by D. W. Bolich, Muskogee, in 1905, that encompassed what was left of Indian Territory. Its significance is as a symbol of Indian resistance to statehood within Oklahoma Territory. Otherwise, the 20th century continued with the diminishment of Indian lands until the allotment era ended with the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. In 1939, Sam Attahvich, of the OIA, drafted a nation-wide map of Indian tribes, lands, and settlements. On this map, he symbolized tribal lands in solid black, reservations allotted and open in cross-stitch, and reservations allotted in part in a diagonal line pattern. Since some reservations fall in both of the latter two categories, this can be spatially confusing to the reader. Additionally, his point symbology in the legend for colonies in Nevada and rancherias in California was significantly larger than what appeared on the map. Regardless, the map summarized the status of Indian lands at that time.36

In academia, Alfred Kroeber, an anthropologist at UC Berkeley, published in 1939, Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America, within which he had mapped and delineated the Native American tribal groups that were frequently divided by watershed boundaries. And Sutton and Cole noted,

Since Kroeber’s focus was culture, he found that boundaries represented the weakest feature when mapping whole cultures. He spoke of tribes living along an ‘interarea’ boundary as having much in common, and he would have preferred a cultural map without boundaries. To be sure, many of the sources cited in Kroeber’s work included references to Native informants, but ultimately his interpretations were those of the scholar.3

As more information was gathered about tribal territories in the following decades, William Sturtevant and Ives Goddard, of the Handbook of North American Indians office in the Anthropology department of the National Museum of Natural History, respectively published Early Indian Tribes, Culture Areas, and Linguistic Stocks (in 1967 as part of the National Atlas), and Native Languages and Language Lamilies of North America (in 1999 as a revised insert to the Languages volume of the Handbook).38

On the government side, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published a series of nation-wide maps titled Indian Land Areas starting in 1971. This map includes federal and state reservations, recognized tribes without trust lands, former reservations in Oklahoma, as well as terminated tribes between 1953 and 1970. This map was revised by me, and produced by the USGS (United States Geological Survey), with no terminated tribes included, in 1987 and 1989; and the BIA published a new version in 1992 with region boundaries. In 1998, the BIA’s Geographic Data Services Center published Indian Lands in the United States map that was an example of a beautiful map that was hard to read: small reservations and off-reservation tribal trust lands are not much more than yellow speckles on the 3D background. In 2016, the BIA’s Office of Trust Services, Branch of Geospatial Support (BOGS) produced a newer map of Indian Lands in the United States, with clearly visible off-reservation tribal trust lands depicted as tiny pink polygons. More recently, the BIA’s BOGS published U.S. Domestic Sovereign Nations: Land Areas of Lederally Recognized Tribes. But note in the plains, due to legal actions, the Lake Traverse Reservation has diminished borders, and the Osage Reservation no longer appears even though the Osage still maintain total subsurface rights under that reservation. While the BIA’s online version is the same, it gives the user the ability to zoom, change base maps, and identify tribal lands with the BIA Land Area Representation (LAR). The LAR depicts the external extent of Federal Indian reservations, land held in “trust” by the U.S.,

“restricted fee” or “mixed ownership” tracts for Federally-recognized tribes and individual Indians.59

Other government agencies such as the Census Bureau and the Indian Health Service (IHS) have ongoing mapping efforts as well. The Census map, American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the United States, appeared after the 2010 census, and the agency plans to map the updated data of this topic after the 2020 census. In the last decade, the IHS had a printed map titled “A Culture of Caring” that illustrated IHS boundaries along with the locations of health centers, health stations, and hospitals throughout Indian and Alaskan Native country. That map has been replaced by another map produced by the Department of Veterans Affairs titled “Federal Health Care Facilities: Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs.” But they also have an interactive map website with IHS boundaries, IHS headquarters, area headquarters, and IHS facilities.40

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has an interactive map depicting sessions from Royce (1899), present-day reservations, and National Forests and National Grasslands.41 Unfortunately, the USFS map may be confusing to the average reader for two reasons: first, the present-day reservation boundaries don’t match the Royce boundaries either because the reservations have been diminished or due to mapping errors by Royce, but the difference is not defined; and second, when a polygon is clicked on, the record that pops up gives the Royce tabular information, along with “Related American Indian Tribes” that at times includes some others that are not closely related while occasionally ignoring the present-day inhabitants. For instance, the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming only includes the Shoshone Tribe instead of the Eastern Shoshone and the Arapaho tribes, while rubric of “Related” tribes includes many Shoshone bands, tribes and communities in California, Idaho, Nevada and Oregon.

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