Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Indigenous Language Maps

The Tlingit are one of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. In the native Tlingit language 'Tlingit' means 'people of the tides'. There are now only around 400-500 native speakers of Tlingit. However concerted efforts are being made to revive and preserve the Tlingit language.

If the Tlingit language disappears then the historical indigenous place-names of the northwest coast of North America could become lost for ever. Lingit Aani is an interactive map which features place-name labels showing the original Tlingit place-names. The map currently mainly shows Tlingit place-names around Sheet’ka (Baranof Island).

Most of the Tlingit place-names shown on the map come from the book Our Grandparents' Names on the Land. If you zoom in very close on the map then English translations will appear under the original Tlingit place-names.


Traveling some distance south along the northwest coast of North America from the traditional territory of the Tlingit you come to the territory of the Squamish. The indigenous Squamish people live in a large area around Squamish in British Columbia.

Oh The Places You Should Know is an interactive map in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language. The map was created by the non-profit Kwi Awt Stelmexw. On the map all the map labels are in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh. The mountains and waterways are in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, the islands and villages are all in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and the landmarks are in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh.

If you don't speak Sḵwx̱wú7mesh you can click on the place-name markers on the map to find out how to pronounce the name and to learn what it means in English. Many of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh names and markers on the map even have audio files attached which allow you to hear how the word should be pronounced. Some of the locations featured on the map also include additional information, such as video, photos, stories, and external links. 

There are 203 First Nations communities in British Colombia and an amazing diversity of indigenous languages. You can learn more about B.C.'s First Nations communities and languages on the First People's Map of B.C..

The new First People's Map of B.C. provides information about the indigenous languages, cultures and places of British Columbia. The interactive map visualizes the regions where different First Nations languages are spoken. It also allows you to view First Nations place-names and important landmarks.

If you select a language family from the map sidebar you can view where the individual First Nations languages in that family are spoken. You can also listen to recordings of each of the indigenous languages being spoken by native speakers. In addition the First People's Map of B.C. provides information on community landmarks, cultural sites and art spaces.

You can view more interactive maps featuring indigenous place-name labels in other locations around the world under the Maps Mania languages tag.

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