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Natural resources have always been key elements influencing the choice of settlement sites, the level of subsistence, and the survival of a region's inhabitants. Historically, the identification and mapping of resources of economic value on Indian lands often have had the same effect of promoting non-Indian encroachment and the removal of native inhabitants. The demand for agricultural lands and the search for mineral deposits are the most obvious examples, but other resources, such as timber, water, and grazing lands, were also often sought on Indian lands and occasionally depicted on maps. The natural resources of present-day reservations have been, in many cases, the principal means of tribal income, and modern maps of the soils, geology, mineral deposits water, climate energy, timber and agricultural potential of reservation lands are all aids to decision-making regarding issues of land use, economic development, and conservation.
The extent of thematic mapping of natural resources varies for each reservation, but in general there is little coverage for most reservations in the collections of the Geography and Map Division. Some pertinent earth sciences maps will, however, be included with scientific publications, and can be found in the Library's General Collections rather than the Geography and Map Division.
The maps in this section have been digitized by the Library and are available for viewing and download online. Select the link on the map or in the caption to view a copy of the map that can be enlarge to view the detail.
Map depicts roads, towns, villages, and gold mining sites in northwestern Georgia, an area formerly occupied by the Cherokee Indians. Below the title is a printed advertisement reading. "This interesting Tract of country contains four millions three hundred & sixty six thousand five hundred & fifty four Acres, many rich Gold Mines & many delightful Situations & though in some parts mountainous, Some of the richest Land belonging to the state."
The confinement and weakening of Plains Indians tribal culture was concomitant with the demise of the American bison, their chief source of sustenance, and long the symbol of the American West. This map results from the expedition of Smithsonian taxidermist and zoologist, William Temple Hornaday, to retrieve specimens of American bison. Distressed by the near extinction of the species, he issued a report that included this map of North America that dramatically illustrated the contraction of the bison's range across several stages, from its historical range across North American, to its diminution from hunting, to its subdivision by the transcontinental railroads, to the reductions of the southern and northern herds by slaughter, and to their restricted habitats by 1889. Figures in red identify the bison's extermination over specific localities by year, while figures in green identify their localities and numbers as of January 1, 1889.
This 1905 map of the Oklahoma and Indian Territory delineates, by way of red boundary lines, Indian nations, in addition to Indian, forest, grazing, saline, and wood reservations. Includes gazetteers of Oklahoma and Indian Territory, as well as population figures from the 1905 territorial census, and lists of territorial officials and assembly representatives, administrative and judicial districts of the Oklahoma Territory, and tables of distances.