If you’re looking for a map showing where First Nations are located in BC, you may wish to consider the following resources as starting points:

But you may be wondering about this map below:

BC First Nations Map
* Map source: First Nations People of British Columbia, Ministry of Education, British Columbia. http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/map.htm

That map above was the same map I had seen on the Museum of Anthropology‘s wall during a visit many years ago. When I first published this blog post in 2012, I knew less about, well, a lot. I wasn’t aware how I and this blog post ad this map was contributing to colonial narrative. I wasn’t aware of the complexities and sensitivities about me, a white settler, writing with authority about Indigenous placenames, languages, or people. I was oblivious to the possessive language I was using. I was oblivious that a static map would somehow 

As a visual learner who studied cartography, maps speak to me. By sharing the map, I was hoping it would quickly convey just how diverse this part of the world is when it comes to Indigenous cultures. 

I had heard that there are more distinct Indigenous cultures and languages within the boundaries of British Columbia than all other Canadian provinces and territories combined. These aren’t Canadian cultures or British Columbia’s cultures. These cultures have existed thousands upon thousands of years before Canada or British Columbia ever existed. And they still exist here.

If we think European castle are old, if we think Roman ruins are old, if we think Egyptian pyramids and ancient Greece are old, the Indigenous cultures in BC are older still. 

When international visitors come to Canada, they often think, “Look at all this empty land. Look at how new it is. There are no castles here. There are no ancient ruins. There is no history here. There is no culture here. There is only wilderness.” 

But that’s wrong.

I shared this map, back then, as a sort of myth debunker. I wanted the map to showcase a richness of Indigenous languages and cultures that rival the distinct languages and cultures of Europe.

I’ve since come to learn that if you really want to know whose land you’re on, first, ask, don’t reference a map. But if you absolutely need to reference a map, Native Land is a dynamic map. It showcases the fluidity and overlapping realities when you tie physical places to Indigenous languages and cultures. If you’re craving a visual, the Native Land website is more accurate than this static map. Of course, maps are just a start. And we all have to start somewhere.

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  1. where can I get some of these maps
    they are wonderful and will make a good teaching tool to
    children grandchildren and friends

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