This map should be included in every history book.
Oh wow! I’ve been wanting this for ages!
This needs to be in every history book along with a map showing where those nations have been pushed to now.
This is great, and native language maps SHOULD be included in school books – but it could go farther, because the native languages of the Americas are phenomenal for their variety!
“There are around 25 million native speakers of the more than 800 surviving Amerind languages.” (
…and that’s just the surviving ones (though I’m pretty sure that number includes south American languages, which this map doesn’t).
The other maps I’ve seen of native language families have similar shapes but a lot more divisions:
This is also a “Pre Contact” language family map. I’d guess it’s a more precise/refined version, rather than a contradiction, like how a map of European language groups could show the whole area as “Indo European” or it could divide it into Romance, Germanic, Slavic, etc, (plus the Basque isolate!) and both would be accurate maps of language families.
(”Isolates” mean languages that aren’t related to anything around them in any way anyone can figure out, and they’re excitingly baffling to linguists).
I do remember a linguistics professor back in university saying that the linguistic variation in the Americas was huge, with lots of isolates or near-isolates. The Salishan group in the above map, for instance, includes 23 distinct languages, and it’s not the only language family area.
Native Languages.org has a great list divided by language family and with links to resources for specific languages, with ‘family tree’ organization showing specific languages and sub families within broader family groups.
As for native speakers, after both Canadian and US governments tried to wipe out all these languages (language in bold, linguistic family in parentheses)…
Only 8 indigenous languages of the area of the continental United States currently have a population of speakers in the U.S. and Canada large enough to populate a medium-sized town. Only Navajo still has a population of greater than 25,000 within the U.S.
Navajo (Athabaskan) AZ, NM, UT 148,530 speakers
Cree (Algic) MT, Canada 60,000 speakers
Ojibwa (Algic) MN, ND, MT, MI, Canada 51,000 speakers
Cherokee (Iroquoian) OK, NC 22,500 speakers
Dakota (Siouan) NE, ND, SD, MN, MT, Canada 20,000 speakers
Apache (Athabaskan) NM, AZ, OK 15,000 speakers
Blackfoot (Algic) MT, Canada 10,000 speakers
Choctaw (Muskogean) OK, MS, LA 9,211 speakers
per this page on Native American Languages
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