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Cultural Areas at First Contact

Updated 6/1/2006

This map depicts the general areas occupied at First Contact, so the "boundaries" are only an approximation.  It does, however, show which groups were united by a similar language and which ones lived in the same area,  thus providing some basis for understanding the shifting alliances. 


Of these eight cultural areas, three involved mass removals of natives to what is now Oklahoma.  I have found single examples for two other groups, none for the remaining three. 


Shown in Dark Green.  Home of the Iroquois and Algonquin groups. Some remnants of the Iroquois were removed to the Quapaw Tract.  Some Algonquins were also placed in the Quapaw Tract but others were relocated to Oklahoma Territory.   This link provides a more detailed map and chart of nations/tribes/bands moved from the northeast to what is now Oklahoma.


Shown in Red. Home of many different language families, including Algonquin, Caddoan, Iroquoian (Cherokee), Muskogean (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole), and Siouan.  This is the group that walked the infamous Trail of Tears to Indian Territory.  Please check the corresponding ITGenWeb site for more information about each such group.
Great Plains Shown in Yellow.  Algonquian, Athapascan, Caddoan, Siouan, and Uto-Aztecan. Many of these were relocated to Oklahoma Territory through a series of moves from one reservation to another.  There are so many
Southwest Shown in Brown. Athapascan,  Penutian, Yuman, and Uto-Aztecan.  Some Apache were removed to the southwestern  part of Oklahoma Territory.
Great Basin Shown in Dark Blue. Primarily Uto-Aztecan with a few Yuman.  No examples of relocation to Oklahoma found so far.
Plateau Shown in Pink. Penutian and Salish.  The Modoc were relocated to the Quapaw Tract.
Northwest Shown in Light Blue. Na-dene and Penutian.  No examples of relocation to Oklahoma found so far.
California Shown in Light Green.  Athapaskan, Hokan, Penutian, and Uto-Aztecan.  No examples of relocation to Oklahoma found so far.

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Status:  Only one of the individual area maps is online with its corresponding chart.  This section has been the subject of very few queries so has been given a low priority.


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Updated 6/1/2006

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E-mail: Sharon McAllister

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