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The National Archives has digitized thousands of documents, images, and movies related to Native American history and culture.  This is the fifth in a series of blogs highlighting the records available online through the National Archives catalog.  Interested in photos of Indian Reservations?  Check out this blog for more information.

 

NAID 50926110.pngMap of the Eastern Boundary of the Ute Indian Reservation, NAID 50926110

 

 

 

Federal Indian Reservations are officially defined as “an area of land reserved for a tribe or tribes under treaty or other agreement with the United States, executive order, or federal statute or administrative action as permanent tribal homelands, and where the federal government holds title to the land in trust on behalf of the tribe” by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Currently there are 326 federal Indian Reservations, which cover 56 million acres in 25 US states.

 

Central Map File, 1800 – 1960

40 digitized maps of tribal lands and reservations.

 

The modern federal Indian Reservation system began with the passage of the Indian Appropriations Act in 1851.  The act authorized the setting aside of tracts of land for removed Native American tribes, ostensibly in order to protect them from further encroachment by white settlers.  These reservations came to be managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which was created in 1824 to manage relations between Native Americans and the US Government. The BIA enacted a program of religious and cultural assimilation among reservation inhabitants, including the creation of Indian Schools to erase traditional knowledge and practices from Native American children.

 

"Long-hair" letter from Commissioner of Indian Affairs to Superintendent, Round Valley, California.

1902 letter instructing the Superintendent to discourage men from wearing long hair and both genders from painting their faces.

 

1888: File 5179

Correspondence about the use of brass tags as identification among the Tonto, San Carlos, Coyotero, Yuma and Mojave tribes. Included in the file are photos of five sample brass tags to be worn by male members of the tribes.

 

Letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Superintendent of the Consolidated Ute Agency

1926 letter instructing the Superintendent to oppose the use of peyote in religious ceremonies.

 

The 1930s saw a period of reform of the federal government’s policy towards Native Americans.  The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (colloquially referred to as the “Indian New Deal” was intended to reverse the BIA’s policy of Native American assimilation and federal control of reservations.  The act put reservation assets under tribal control and encouraged sustainable self-rule for the inhabitants of reservations.  The rise of the American Indian Movement in the 1960s and 1970s brought further calls for Native American rights and self-determination in the reservation system.

 

An Act of June 18, 1934, Public Law 73-383, 48 STAT 984, to Conserve and Develop Indian Lands and Resources; To Extend to Indians the Right to Form Business and other Organizations; To Establish a Credit System for Indians; To Grant Certain Rights of Home Rule to Indians; To Provide for Vocational Education for Indians; and for Other Purposes

 

(Annual) Narrative Report of the Superintendent, Sacramento Indian Agency, California for the Fiscal Years 1936 and 1937, by Roy Nash, ca. 10/1/1937

Includes on- and off-reservation Native American population statistics, California reservation lands, industrial development, and social conditions.

 

Special Action Files of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs for the 93rd Congress

Investigation of the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.

 

Bradley Patterson's Native American Programs Files, 1974 – 1976

Correspondence between Native American representatives and the Nixon and Ford Administrations about the issues facing specific tribes and reservations

 

NAID 5964876 Collage.jpgBrass Identification Tags, NAID 5964876

 

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.

The National Archives has digitized thousands of documents, images, and movies related to Native American history and culture.  This is the fourth in a series of blogs highlighting the records available online through the National Archives catalog.

 

 

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Hay operation at Duckwater Reservation (Idaho and Nevada). Gene Thompson (Mission) and Drew Mike (Piaute).

 

 

 

Federal agencies, especially the Bureau of Indian Affairs, documented the Native American residents of reservations as well as their living and working conditions.  The photos in the entries document daily life, work (especially farming), construction projects, houses, reservation schools, and traditional crafts.

 

Rosebud Sioux Tribe (South Dakota)

Photographs, 1900-1960: 852 photographs mostly focusing on agriculture, land, and Civilian Conservation Corps-Indian Division projects created by the Rosebud Agency.

 

Three Affiliated Tribes (Arikara, Hidatsa and Mandan) (North Dakota)

Photographs, 1900-1960: 866 photographs, including photos of areas of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation that were flooded by the Construction of the Garrison Dam in 1946.

 

Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe (Wyoming)

Photographs, 1898-1953: 16 photos of reservation activities created by the Wind River Agency.

 

Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe (North Dakota)

Photographs, ca. 1914 - ca. 1936: 300 photos recording daily life of Native Americans at the Fort Totten Agency in North Dakota.

 

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (North Dakota)

Photographs, ca. 1930-ca. 1949: 5277 photographs documenting projects, including Civilian Conservation Corps-Indian Division projects, from the Standing Rock Agency.

 

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (South Dakota)

Photographs, 1920-1965: 735 photographs documenting residences and projects, including Civilian Conservation Corps-Indian Division projects, on the Lake Travers Indian Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota (Sisseton Agency).

 

Oglala Sioux (South Dakota)

Pine Ridge Agency: Miscellaneous Photographs, 1923 – 1955: Over 2,000 black and white photos from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  Includes photos of building projects, farming and industry on the reservation, cultural events, and individuals.

 

Main Decimal Files, 1900 – 1965: 26 photos documenting life on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

 

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (Minneconjou, SiHaSapa, Oohenumpa, and Itazipco bands of the Lakota or Great Sioux Nation) (South Dakota)

Cheyenne River Agency: Photographs, 1900 – 1960: 87 photos from the Aberdeen Area Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

 

Salish and Kootenai Tribes (Montana)

Glass Negatives and Photographs, 1911-1939: 65 images documenting the Flathead Irrigation Project in Montana.

 

Southern Ute Tribe (Colorado)

Industrial Survey for the Southern Ute Agency, Colorado (Decimal Files, 1879-1952): 19 photographs documenting "homes, farms, and general life of a band of Southern Utes"

 

Colorado River Reservation (Arizona and California)

Central Photographic File of the War Relocation Authority, 1942 – 1945: Several photographs of residents of the Colorado Indian Reservation, which housed a War Relocation Authority center for Japanese internees in WWII.

 

Lac du Flambaeau Agency (Wisconsin)

Surveys of Indian Industry, 1922: 132 photos of Chippewa and Potawatomi Native Americans posed with their houses. Each photo includes a list of all the members of the households, their occupations, and observations about their work habits and personalities.

 

Tsimshian Indian Community (Alaska and British Columbia)

Photographs of the Inhabitants of Metlakatla, British Columbia and Metlakatla, Alaska, ca. 1856 – 1936: During this period, Tsimshian lived both on federally recognized reservations and independent villages.

 

Multiple Reservations

Minneapolis Area Office: Photographs, 1920 – 1971: 13 photos of from rural Minnesota, the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, and Talihina, Oklahoma.

 

Classified Files of the Extension and Credit Office, 1931 – 1946: 46 photographs documenting the agricultural activities of the Office of Indian Affairs Division of Extension and Industry based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

Desk Files of the Tribal Operations Branch, 1934 – 1951: 32 photos from the records of Gerorge P. LaVatta, a BIA field agent. Photos document Native Americans working on the Hoover and Boulder Dams, Indian schools, and events at the Fort Hall reservation.

 

DOCUMERICA: The Environmental Protection Agency's Program to Photographically Document Subjects of Environmental Concern, 1972 – 1977: This series includes several photos featuring Native Americans at work both on and off reservations.  These photos are mixed in with photos of many other subjects.

 

Henry Peabody Collection, 1890 – 1935: 10 photos of Hopi and Wichita Native Americans.

 

Central Classified Files, 1927 – 1952: About 20 photos documenting forestry activities on reservations supervised by the BIA Phoenix Area Office, including Hopi and Navajo projects.

 

 

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.

 

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We gi ma wa ji wong (Joe Shadame, Sr.)

The National Archives has digitized thousands of documents, images, and movies related to Native American history and culture.  This is the third in a series of blogs highlighting the records available online through the National Archives catalog.

 

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(Clockwise from top left) Screenshots from The Rodman Wanamaker Expedition of Citizenship, An Approach to Indian Offender Rehabilitation, Corn Dancers, and Rebuilding Indian Country

 

Motion pictures featuring Native Americans were produced and collected by the federal government for a variety of reasons- documenting events or government functions, advertising, and public education.

 

Many films of the films available in the National Archives catalog were created in order to promote tourism.  Native Americans were incorporated into many national and state parks as tourist attractions and as a result their culture was advertised alongside the natural features of the parks.

 

A Visit to Mesa Verde (1936)- Navajo dances

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (1937)- Blackfeet dances

Native of Glacier (1934)- Blackfeet dances

Grand Canyon National Park (1934)- Hopi women weaving and spinning

Arizona and Its Natural Resources (1939)- Apache herding cattle, Hopi making pottery and religious dolls; and Navajo herding sheep, making jewelry, weaving, and cooking

 

In addition to advertising, documentary films produced or collected by the federal government in the 1910s through the 1930s reflected a desire to document Native American life based on a fear that Native Americans were “disappearing” and being assimilated into the wider mainstream American culture.

 

The Romance of a Vanishing Race

Indians of North America: Conduct of Life (1913)- Traditions and dress of several tribes, including Hopi, Blackfoot, Crow, and Pueblo

Indians of North America: War Dance (1913?)- Plains Indian war dances

Winter Farm Life on a Crow Reservation: French General Foch Become Honorary Crow (1919)

Navajo Indians (1936)- Navajo crafts, work, and culture

 

An interesting series of films documents the ceremonies surrounding the National Indian Memorial, both at the memorial’s planned location and across the country.  The ground-breaking ceremony in New York coordinated with ceremonies where Native Americans pledged their loyalty to the United States were held at reservations. (Despite the pomp and circumstance, funding for the memorial never materialized and the planned site remains unused to this day.)

 

Inaugurating the National Indian Memorial (1913)- "Events of February 22, 1913, inauguration of National American Indian Memorial in Fort Wadsworth, New York. Shows U.S. government officials addressing Indians and ground breaking ceremony with Pres. William Howard Taft and Indian leaders."

 

Rodman Wanamaker Expedition of Citizenship to the North American Indian, The: Carrying the Flag and a Message of Hope to a Vanishing Race (1913)

Focus on Ogala Sioux, their declaration of allegiance to the US, and flag raising ceremony at Pine Ridge Reservation.

Footage of flag raising and allegiance ceremonies at Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota and Otoe Reservation, Oklahoma.

Flag raising and allegiance ceremonies at Sioux Reservations in Montana and South Dakota,; Fort Peck Reservation, Montana; Standing Rock Reservation, North and South Dakota; and Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota.

"Lower Yankton Sioux; Brule; Yankton Sioux; Tuscarora; Tonawanda; Senaca; Cattaraugus; Cayuga; Onandaga; Alleghany; Oneida; Mohawk; Iroguois; Lepan; Mescalero; Geronimo Apache; Isleta Pueblo." [sic]

 

In later decades of the 20th century more films began to focus on contemporary economic and social issues facing Native Americans.

 

["North Star II" Resupply of Alaskan Villages]- Native American coastal villages and industries in Alaska

An Approach to Indian Offender Rehabilitation- Native American cultural awareness program at Federal Reformatory at El Reno, Oklahoma

We belong to the land- Promotes Forest Service and natural resource careers by emphasizing the relationship between Native Americans and the land*

Tahtonka- Plains tribes and their connection to buffalo, Ghost Dance, and Wounded Knee*

The American Indian: After the White Man Came (1972)- History of Native Americans, with a focus on problems faced by Native Americans in the 20th century*

Modern Indian Medicine Men- U.S. Indian Service physician on Pima reservation southwestern U.S

A New Frontier- Agricultural issues facing southwest Native Americans

Rebuilding Indian Country (1933)- Native American life and industry in the 1930s.  Vignettes feature Chippewa, Pima, and Navaho tribes.

 

There are also a number of films available that showcase Native American art and material culture.

 

Corn Dancers: United Pueblo Agency and Indian Irrigation Service (1941)- Southwestern Pueblo culture and education

Santa Fe Indian School in New Mexico- Shows the school and students in class and learning Native American crafts

Tempera Painting by Quincy Tahoma, a Navajo Indian [https://catalog.archives.gov/id/94960]- Art instructional film

Ford News (1934)- Vignette of Navajo and Pueblo making sand paintings and carving

Mexico: Reeds and Palms (1941)- Mexican Indians' cultivation and use of palms and reeds

Mexico: Maguey (1941)- Uses of the maguey plant

 

New York, Pennsylvania, Gettysburg, Chickamauga and Moundsville, Alabama State Parks (1936)- Archaeology in Moundsville, Alabama

Temples and Peace [https://catalog.archives.gov/id/11635] (1937)- Artifacts from Moundsville, Alabama

Dolores Project archaeology ; Archaeological excavation, McPhee Reservoir area (1978)- Archaeological excavations of Anasazi sites

 

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.

 

*Two minute previews are available in the catalog for these films.  Researchers interested in the complete films can visit the National Archives office listed in the catalog description or purchase a copy from Amazon (purchase link in the catalog description).

The National Archives has digitized thousands of documents, images, and movies related to Native American history and culture.  This is the second in a series of blogs highlighting the records available online through the National Archives catalog.

 

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Cherokee Hills Byway - Trail of Tears Exhibit at the Cherokee National Museum

 

 

On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law.  The law gave the federal government the authority to compel Native Americans living in the eastern United States to relocate to unsettled territory west of the Mississippi River.

 

The process and consequences of removal are extensively documented in the records of the National Archives.  Many types and subjects of removal records have been digitized and are available online in the catalog. 

 

Andrew Jackson’s message to Congress “On Indian Removal” on December 6, 1830

Memorial from the “Ladies of Steubenville, Ohio” protesting Indian Removal (12/15/1830)

 

(For more information about the Indian Removal Act, check out this blog post about documents that are on exhibit from May 23 to June 14, 2017 at the National Archives Rubenstein Galley in Washington, D.C.)

 

The records of The Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence (War Department) contain several pieces of digitized correspondence recording the logistics of removing Native Americans from the Southeast and Midwest.

 

Cherokee

Two letters concerning the removal of Cherokee in Georgia in 1831

Estimate of the cost of removing 500 Cherokee from Georgia by steamboat (1831)

Estimated cost of transferring the Cherokee west of the Mississippi River (1834)

 

Choctaw

Letter from an agent discussing accusations of fraud during the removal of Choctaw from Ecore de Fabrie (1836)

Two letters concerning Choctaw removal (1831, 1832)

 

Creek

Letter concerning the relocation of 530 Creek (1835)

 

Midwestern Tribes

Two letters concerning the removal of the Pottawatomi, and a petition to President Andrew Jackson from the Pottawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa tribes. (1835, 1836)

 

 

There are also a number of documents related to the forcible removal of Cherokee from Georgia in 1838-1839, known as the Trail of Tears.

 

Cherokee Petition in Protest of the New Echota Treaty (1836)

Major General Winfield Scott’s Order No. 25 (1838)

Report of Sick and Wounded Encamped at Rattle Snake Springs (1838)

 

Some removal records can also be useful as alternative genealogy sources and can complement more comprehensive sources. The two items listed below contain lists of emigrating family groups. Only heads of family are named, but these records can provide color and context to supplement more comprehensive sources.

 

“Muster Roll of Emigrants Brought to the Creek Country West of the Mississippi and Arkansas by Chilly McIntosh” (1833)

“Muster Roll of Cherokee Indians Who Enrolled and Emigrated West of the Mississippi River Under the Direction of Benjamin F. Currey from the First of October 1831 to the First of January 1833”

 

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.

 

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).

 

Photograph of Boys and Girls Conducting Physics Experiments at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania

 

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.