The National Archives has digitized thousands of documents, images, and movies related to Native American history and culture. This is the first in a series of blogs highlighting the records available online through the National Archives catalog (catalog.archives.gov).
The National Archives has extensive holdings relating to Indian Schools, run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. (For more information on researching Indian Schools and requesting school records and student files, visit here.) These records are a valuable source of information for both historical researchers and genealogists hoping to track down and understand the lived experiences of their ancestors.
Several series related to the Chilocco School in Oklahoma have been digitized and are available online through the catalog. There are gradebooks, student-produced magazines and annuals, and monthly reports. (For researchers interested in finding specific students, beginning in 1926, monthly reports often included an attachment of pupils enrolled or pupils dropped.)
Other sources document early 20th century Cherokee schools in North Carolina, Sioux students and families in North Dakota, the Fort Bidwell School in California, and the Santa Clara Day School in New Mexico.file:///H:/History%20Hub/Indian%20Schools%20Blog%20Post.docx#_ftn9
There are also several series of digitized photographs of students and school campuses. Photographs of the Pierre Indian School (South Dakota), Albuquerque Indian School (New Mexico), Haskell Institute (Kansas), Carlisle Industrial School (Pennsylvania), Phoenix Indian School (Arizona), and Chemawa Indian School (Oregon) are all available online. Photographs from the Rapid City Indian School (South Dakota) feature a visit by then-President Calvin Coolidge in 1927.
Of course, this blog post is far from comprehensive- for any researcher, a thorough perusal of the National Archives catalog is an absolute must. For more tips on searching for digitized records in the catalog, check out this post on Expanding Your Digital Toolkit. Researchers interested in records described in the catalog that haven’t been digitized should get in touch with the appropriate National Archives reference unit using the contact information at the bottom of the page.