Indians of North America: Archives and LibrariesEdit This Page
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The National Archives of the United States in Washington D.C., its several regional archives, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City, the Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa are but a few of the archives or libraries with very substantial holdings of American Indian records. Many of these facilities have copies of records also found elsewhere. But each of these records custodians also have records unique to their facility.
The National Archives of the United States
Many of the records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- their agencies, superintendencies, area offices, as well as the Commissioner's Office -- have transferred portions of their records to the National Archives in Washington D.C. These records are described in a research guide for Records Group 75 -- Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- available online.
Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration in the United States has established a system of regional archives throughout the country. A list of those regional archives, with links to the archival holdings of some of them, is also available online.
Bibliography of Native North Americans
Labriola National American Indian Data Center
The Labriola National American Indian Data Center is a research collection with current and historic information on government, culture, religion and world view, social life and customs, tribal history, and information on individuals from the United States, Canada, Sonora, and Chihuahua, Mexico.
The Labriola Center is located on the second floor of Hayden Library on the Arizona State University Tempe campus.
The Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Family History Library has collected many books and microlfilmed copies of original records relative to American Indians. Copies of records microfilmed by the government of the United States are included in their holdings, as are private and government records microfilmed by their own field operators. Records published or microfilmed by churches, individuals, and other organizations are also in their collection.
Several approaches to identify their holdings. The Family History Library has several ways of searching their catalog -- by subject, author, title, locality, and keyword. Since each approach may yield vastly different results, particularly for Native American searches, each approach is explained below.
The Subject Search could be used to search for records of a particular tribe of American Indians. For instance, a search of an Indian Tribe such as the "Bella Coola Indians" returns not only a list of the holdings of references to that tribe within the collection, but also provides cross references to where they resided and other names by which they were known.
A keyword search for the same tribal name may return some of the same references as a subject search, but may also yield additional references to that tribe.
Perhaps a tribal name is not known. If a locality of interest can be identified, an approach through that locality can be taken. For example, if it is known that an ancestor lived in Texas, a search of the "Native Races" within that locality provides a list of references in various media forms relative to American Indians for that locality.
Of course, the name of an individual author, if known, can be used to obtain a reference to things published by that author. For example, a search for the name of John Swanton would yield all references in the holdings of the Family History Library written by that author. But organizations or government entities can also be authors. A search of "Bureau of Indian Affairs" as an author returns a list of records created by various agncies, schools, etc. of that government bureau.
If the exact title of a book or record is known, the title search could be used to locate a reference to that book or set of records. For example, a search for "Indian Census Rolls," a title of a set of records created by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, returns a list of records cataloged under that title.
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