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Restoring Indigenous Place Names: A Joint Project of the Digital Matters Program and the American West Center

Native Places Atlas is a spatial humanities new project restoring indigenous place names to major landscape features and historical and cultural sites within an interactive, layered map centered on Utah. The histories of the state’s traditionally associated tribes are embedded in places and place names.

Mapping has historically made new colonies “legible” to colonial administrators and facilitated the implementation of policies, programs, and regulations that supplanted indigenous lifeways. As one of the principal tools of colonialism, maps inscribed imperial culture onto a landscape while erasing the presence of indigenous inhabitants.

The project is a response to this history of colonization and erasure of indigenous place names. Developing this project currently is John Flynn, joint graduate fellow at the American West Center and Digital Matters. You can view the Native Places record and integration of indigenous place names at

Flynn also created a video about the Native Places Atlas interactive map.

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