A Zuni Atlas-Alex Seowtewa-1985

Got this book last year from the library. It was over the summer and it is since long over due. I finally got around to returning it this afternoon. However, before I did I wanted to make sure to get at least some thoughts down. I had meant to try something a bit more “professional”..

A Zuni Atlas (Civilization of theAmerican Indian Series) (Paperback)~ T. J. Ferguson (Author), E. Richard Hart (Author)

A Zuni Atlas-Alex Seowtewa-1985

Although it may look like some sort of South Western reservation tourist book, it is in fact put out by University of Oklahoma Press, published in 1985. What is particularly enticing is that the book although an atlas, goes beyond simple representational cartography. It charts an archaeological ethnographic landscape. There is extensive use of photography and a deep bibliographic index of source material. The book begins by outlining the basic location of the Zuni lands. There are maps covering the location, geologic date, or landforms found in these lands. There are maps looking at growing seasons against altitude. Other ones which focus on biological vectors, map the biotic communities or the origin and migration routes of the Zuni people

Only then does the atlas begin to feature other maps more historically anchored, which intersect with moments of human history of the Southwest. Here the book showcases maps tracing the routes of Spanish explorers or the agricultural landscape(s) and methods of the Zuni people. Or maps of their mineral, food and water resource catchment areas.

There are also maps which focus on networks or social relationships, such inter-tribal trading routes, religious landscapes, or trails. The book then begins to include maps of the Zuni but from an outsiders perspective. These maps many by American explorers or armed forces note boundaries of sovereignty.

A map of particular note in this section is entitled “Plan of Zuni Peublo, 1881” by Victor Mindeleff, published in A Study of Pueblo Architecture. This scale drawing portrays the Zuni Pueblo “at its most architectural compact phase“, Ferguson and Hart note. Interestingly, Mindeleff indicated height of stories by progressively lighter shading, which provides an enchanting mottled image. One is reminded of Habitat67 by Moshe Safdie architect, in Montreal, Canada.

There is also a great aerial image of Zuni taken in 1948.

Numerous maps also track the changing borders of the Zuni lands from first contact and incidents of violence, to formal recognition by the American government. Or note the locations of battlefields, forts and the location of non-Zuni encroachment onto Zuni claimed lands.


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