Focus on Collections: Native American Heritage Month

As part of PLASC’s commitment to further engagement with our members and institutions, we will be highlighting collections that pay homage to the “National Heritage Months”.

November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month. Below we are highlighting one collection in each region of the country that does an exceptional job representing Archives and the Heritage Month. We also gave each institution the opportunity to speak a bit more on their collections and institutions if they wanted.

Typically, we choose public libraries to highlight, but many of these collections are housed in State and Academic Libraries. As Indigenous Heritage is best supported and showcased by the descendants of those who created the documents and artifacts, we also wanted to showcase the work of the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the Directory of Tribal Libraries, Museums, Archives of United States.



Native Northeast Portal

The Native Northeast Research Collaborative‘s Native Northeast Portal contains primary source materials by, on, or about Northeast Indians from repositories around the world.  Documents are digitized, transcribed, annotated, reviewed by the appropriate contemporary descendant community representatives, and brought together with scholarly annotations and academic/community commentary into one edited interactive digital collection. The Portal currently contains thousands of records associated with scores of Native communities.

A visual description of Martha’s Vineyard in 1694 accompanied by a proposal to consolidate the towns of Tisbury and Chilmark, Massachusetts Archives, Massachusetts Archives, Vol.113, Doc.94-95; Native Northeast Research Collaborative, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), Chappaquiddick


Oklahoma Historical Society: American Indian Center

The archives include federal Indian records placed in the society’s custody in 1934 by an act of Congress. Containing more than 3.5 million documents and 6,000 volumes, the collection represents sixty-six tribes. These tribes either were relocated by removal or are native to the area. These records include a variety of official documents and information relating to tribes in Indian and Oklahoma Territory.

The records of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole date from 1856 to 1906. These records contain primary documentation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well as district and county records. Included are census records, accounts of legislative sessions, court dockets, correspondence, election records, treasurer’s records, materials relating to land allotment and leases, and school records. Extensive information about agriculture, citizenship, education, American Indian-white relations, law enforcement, and a variety of aspects of life in Indian Territory can be found in these documents.


Northern Arizona University

As part of a long-standing partnership, the Cline Library is pleased to host online access to archival collections owned by the Hopi Tribe, such as the remarkable photography of Milton Snow. Staff from the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, in consultation with elders, select and describe the photographs and documents added to the public database. To learn more about Hopi history and culture visit the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office website.

Gallup Inter-tribal Ind. ceremonials. Florence & Spencer Koinva. Shungopovi. Aug. 10-13, 1950. [With Hopi arts display and basket of piki bread]; Milton Snow collection.


University of Nebraska – American Indian Oral History and Omaha Folklore Project Oral History Collection

The American Indian Oral History and Omaha Folklore Project Oral History Collection contains oral history interviews of Native Americans in Omaha, Nebraska as well as interviews collected as part of a program called the Oral History Collection of the Omaha Folklore Project. The interviews cover the cultures and personal histories of interviewees in the U.S. as well as leaving Europe in the first half of the 20th Century. Topics of discussion include life in Omaha, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and day-to-day life. Those interviewed were of Native American, Polish, German, Swedish, and other ethnic or national descents.

The following information about the Oral History Collection of the Omaha Folklore Project was provided by UNO History professor Michael Tate: “This collection of several dozen taped interviews was assembled during the mid-1970s by mostly undergraduate UNO students under the direction of Dr. Michael Tate of the History Department. These tapes have not been transcribed, but each tape has a file folder containing an outline of the main points of the interview. These contain unique and detailed information about Omaha, Nebraska and rural towns from WWI through WWII.” Prof. Tate provided the following information about the American Indian Oral History Taped Interviews portion of the collection: “This collection of several dozen taped interviews was assembled during the mid-1970s. Virtually all were conducted by UNO graduate students under the direction of Dr. Michael Tate of the UNO History Department. Most of the interview were with Native Americans who talked about education, health care, reservation life, urban life and a host of other relevant topics. These were mostly interviews with Lakota (Sioux), Omaha, and Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribal people, but also include other tribal representations. A few of the interviews have been fully transcribed but the majority contain detailed outlines of what is contained in each separate interview. Many of the interviews deal with the militant activities of the American Indian Movement during that era. Several also were conducted with judges and law enforcement officers who dealt with the controversial trials following AIM’s occupation of Wounded Knee.”


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