In the past several decades, scholars have increasingly emphasized the inherent biases that inform cartographic texts. More recently, scholars of empire have demonstrated powerful connections between the work of mapmaking and colonizing schemes of empires on indigenous space, communities, and language. This panel builds on these scholarly conversations by investigating mundane spatial practices and literacies through which historical actors, who navigated the mapped spaces, either sustained or contested imperial cartographies. Whether depicting mobile Native peoples stationary ethnonyms; presenting colonial conquests as undifferentiated, annexed territory; or failing to distinguish the uneven distances that wind patterns bestowed sea routes, imperial maps frequently obfuscated regionally- specific understandings of space. As the three papers of this panel argue, the limitations of these cartographic texts prompt scholars not only to recognize the silences embedded in imperial maps, but also to seek alternative spatial practices that better reflect the actions historical actors pursued when making meaning of shifting imperial boundaries and subjectivities. In recovering these vernacular spatial practices, this panel reveals processes by which peoples amassed, critiqued, and consumed geographic knowledge. In doing so, it also reconstructs how state and non-state actors understood their place within the contested empires and geographies of eighteenth-century America.