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Native Trails

Along with considering Indigenous language names for places all over the modern map of the Americas, Indigenous peoples’ original presence is evidenced through the major highways winding throughout the land. Using the maps below you can see how today’s roadways mirror some of the original Indigenous trails and travel routes. Early people had extensive routes that criss-crossed the continent for purposes of trade, important social functions such as ceremonies, sports, relaying messages, and addressing conflict.

Nonlinear, or circular, forms of narrative are part of Indigenous research methodology, against the traditional European, linear thinking. This is part of our work to decolonize our curatorial approach.
Sally Brown, Exhibit Coordinator

This map Illustrates Native American Trails within the state of West Virginia. Tug Fork Trail, SW of WV;  Bluestone Trail, SE of WV; Dunlap Trail; SE of WV; Warrior path, E of WV; Seneca Trail; W and Central WV; Traders Trail, N of WV

The next time you’re outdoors, take time to consider that other people have walked on this same ground for thousands
of years. Cultures are always evolving and adapting. Study the maps shown here and consider what a map of this place might look like 100 or 500 years from now.  Will future generations use maps?  Tell stories about where one place is, relative to another? Illustrate how much our populated places have changed compared to today?

View Native trail maps