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Native American Materials in the US Archives

An introduction to Native American materials in archives, libraries, & museums

Introduction

Cultural heritage institutions collect and preserve history of their respective communities, sustaining collective memories and identities, but a question of whose traditions they are keeping and how they obtained some of their treasures often reveals unpleasant realities. One such query concerns indigenous materials in nonindigenous institutions.

This LibGuide introduces you to the conversation about Native American materials in the U.S. archives and to the debates about centuries-long practices of representing Native peoples and telling their stories.

Understandably, many of such items are accessible only in physical collections, and their online displays are limited by ethical concerns. Illustrations of Native American items used in this guide have been selected from published materials and currently have no known objections regarding their viewership.

Music Goes Home

Archives & Family History

What's Your Story?
Dr. Evan Adams discovers his family history with the British Columbia Archives.

Accessibility

Most resources listed in this Guide are anchored in the collections available at the Tommaney Library or accessible free of charge online. A few items accessible in archival holdings in person only (or requiring subscription to view online) are noted appropriately. 

Acknowledgments

The work on this LibGuide has been supported by a Carnegie-Whitney grant from the American Library Association (2020).

Several students contributed to identifying and describing resources listed in the pages that follow: Madeline Fillips (master’s program, the School of Information, UT Austin), Emily V. Vernon (master’s program, the School of Information, UT Austin), and Madeleine C. Olson (doctoral program,  Department of History, UT Austin).