Old Maps, New Pathways: Cartography, Museum Collections, and Decolonial Possibilities

Christine DeLucia (Williams College) revisits maps and material culture collections in local museums, historical societies, and archives across the Northeast to explore two intertwined threads: how these sources can illuminate histories of Euro-colonial impacts across Indigenous homelands; and how they may convey vital Indigenous critiques, resistances, and ongoing relationships with homelands and sovereignties. Click here for a 108-minute on-line presentation by the Henry Sheldon Museum.

The talk, which begins 10 minutes into the video, invites reflections on the active links between past, present, and future, and twenty-first century possibilities for engaging heritage materials in new ways. DeLucia teaches and is involved in public humanities projects centering material culture, place-based ways of knowing and remembering, and decolonial approaches.

(Above) Some of the early colonial maps of New England show large areas of “wilderness” that were in fact inhabited by Indigenous people without reference to them while English place names were superimposed to show colonial possession.

(Above) Contemporary art and cartography by Indigenous artists shows the erasure of colonial nomenclature and adds the current names of tribal lands in North America.