Toponymic Constraints in Wemindji

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Research by Eugene Hunn (1996) suggested that toponymic density and population density are roughly equal for a range of indigenous groups across North America. In Wemindji Quebec, historic and current toponymic and population data support Hunn’s observation. I demonstrate that toponymic constraints are real by holding the number of traditional toponyms (898) as a background ‘constant,’ and estimating the growth of Wemindji’s population from 1960 to 2010 based on knowledge held by local experts. Measurements from historic air photographs assumed toponymic growth proportional to the area within the limits of Wemindji town development. 78 new town place names provide a baseline for that measurement. Relative to toponymic density, population density steadily increased from 1960 to 2010, with a graph depicting the two densities suggesting equality in approximately 1995.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Canadian Geographer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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