Maps shape how we see our world. A Great Lakes Commons needs many maps to help us connect to this vision.

Explore this Gallery and the bigger one on our Facebook page. Contact us if you have more maps to contribute. 

Share your reactions and perspective on the Commons Map so the Great Lakes Commons community can benefit. 

ojibwe gl map

The Great Lakes in Ojibwe. From Decolonial Atlas.

Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) is the most-spoken indigenous language in the Great Lakes basin. Charles Lippert, a speaker of Anishinaabemowin, has helped tremendously by researching the lakes and translating into Anishinaabemowin. Below are the translations for all the Great Lakes:

Nayaano-nibiimaang Gichigamiin: The Great Lakes (The Five Freshwater Seas)
Anishinaabewi-gichigami: Lake Superior (Anishinaabe’s Sea)
Ininwewi-gichigami: Lake Michigan (Illinois’ Sea)
Naadowewi-gichigami: Lake Huron (Iroquois’ Sea), also known as Gichi-aazhoogami-gichigami (Great Crosswaters Sea)
Waabishkiigoo-gichigami: Lake Erie (Neutral’s Sea), also known as Aanikegamaa-gichigami (Chain of Lakes Sea)
Niigaani-gichigami: Lake Ontario (Leading Sea), also known as Gichi-zaaga’igan (Big Lake)

How do these Ojibwe names help you better understand the Great Lakes and those who protect the waters?

human footprint of GLC

Human Footprint in the Great Lakes
This map was made using National Geographic's MapMaker Interactive. Purple is where the biggest impacts are. What potential do you see for balancing human impacts with nature's needs? How can we transition to greater human/nature harmonies?

nuclear hotspots in GLC

There are 43 Nuclear 'HotSpots in the Great Lakes. There is no long-term or safe plan for dealing with the waste of these facilities. The Great Lakes Commons Map currently has full stories on 13 nuclear sites. Use the 'Filter' button to find our nuclear stories. 

How does this map affect your perspective of the Great Lakes? Do you know what % of your electricity comes from nuclear power? Do you know where the uranium comes from? Do you know how many litres of water a nuclear reactor uses to cool itself? 

Lots of questions. Share your thoughts, stories, and answers on the Commons Map:

See the original map here to learn more and zoom in to your community.

Haudenosaunee names of GLC

Haudenosaunee Great Lakes map. 

Othorè:ke tsi tkarahkwíneken’s nonkwá:ti ne A’nó:wara tsi kawè:note (Northeast Turtle Island) is an area roughly equivalent to the extent of Haudenosaunee territory during the Beaver Wars of the 16th century. One will notice that there is no Tsi tekaristì:seron (Where the tracks are dragged) – or borders – on this map. Haudenosaunee land spans the border between so-called Canada and the so-called United States, and did so before the tracks were dragged by colonists. It should also be noted that Ka’nón:no (New York City), the largest city on Turtle Island was literally built by Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) skywalkers.

This map was made by Karonhí:io Delaronde, a Kanien’kéha speaker from Kanièn:ke (Ganienkeh –, and Jordan Engel, a map-maker from Ka’skonhtsherá:kon (Rochester). From Decolonial Atlas.

stress map GLC

Got stress? The folks at the Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping Project made this map to help us understand the state of the lakes. Red is bad. 

How stressed is your part of the Great Lakes? What are the biggest stresses? What do you think should be done to lighten this stress? How do we have a totally BLUE Great Lakes?

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