Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla. has pinpointed the locations and original names of hundreds of Native American Nations throughout the United States before their first contact with Europeans.
As a teenager, Carapella says he could never get his hands on a continental U.S. map like this, depicting more than 600 tribes - many now forgotten and lost to history.
Now, the 34-year-old designs and sells maps as large as 3 by 4 feet with the names of tribes hovering over land they once occupied.
"There were tribes I had never even heard of," he told the Navajo Times. "It blew me away, the diversity. Florida alone had 35 to 40 different tribes."
"I think a lot of people get blown away by, 'Wow, there were a lot of tribes, and they covered the whole country!' You know, this is Indian land," says Carapella, who calls himself a "mixed-blood Cherokee" and lives in a ranch house within the jurisdiction of the Cherokee Nation.
Look at a map of Native American territory today, and you'll see tiny islands of reservation and trust land engulfed by acres upon acres ceded by treaty or taken by force.
For more than a decade, Carapella consulted history books and library archives, called up tribal members and visited reservations as part of research for his map project, which began as pencil-marked poster boards on his bedroom wall.
So far, Carapella has designed maps of the
a few more. He was also careful to list the tribes by the names they call themselves, rather than the names given to them by Europeans or other tribes.
What makes Carapella's maps distinctive? It's their display of both the original and commonly known names of Native American tribes and his maps also serve as a reminder that the population of the American Countryside stretches back long before 1776 and 1492.
Credits: You can review and purchase all of Aaron Carapella's maps from his website at: Tribalnationsmaps.com