UCB Libraries


Native American History and Sources

Primary Sources || Secondary Sources || Policy and Law || U.S. Government Sources || Guides to Microfilm || Biographical Information || Related Topics


Primary Sources and Documents Collections

The following databases, collections, and publications are strong sources of primary source documents when investigating Native American history and tribal relationships with the U.S. Government. Items with an asterisk (*) denote limited or restricted access.

United States Serial Set. See: Guide to American Indian documents in the Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1899.

1789-2003 and maps, 1983-2003 (via ProQuest)*

1870-1980 and maps (via Readex)*

1995-Present (via FDsys; broken into sets of Congressional Documents and Congressional Reports)


Of the choices above, users new to the Serial Set should first try the Readex collection. It is easy to search and exceptionally well indexed.


Select "Indian Affairs" from the main page to browse the variety and scope of documents available.


Search by name, location, event, or government entity, for example, one useful publication is the...


Bulletin of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institute. (Index). The Readex version of the Serial Set* makes these materials particularly easy to find using an Author search for "Bureau of American Ethnology."

Historical Newspapers.

Finding Historical Newspapers. This CU Boulder library guide will help you locate online access to historical newspapers, as well as searchable and print indices to newspapers.


Finding News Articles on a Topic. This library guide provides suggestions on searching newspapers for topical references, with links to databases that contain multiple contemporary newpapers. Several recommendations for alternative press news outlets, such as Ethnic NewsWatch, are listed here.


Newspapers can be searched for personal names, military personnel and units, and geographic locations. Avoid contemporary terms that may not have been in use at the actual point in history.

19th Century Materials.

Making of America (Univ. of Mich.). Search by keyword, or browse the Subject Guide to this collection of 19th century books and periodicals.


Making of America (Cornell). Though they both cover America's antebellum period through reconstruction, Cornell's Making of America project contains content different from that of Michigan's. Both are excellent full-text resources.


Annual Report of the Commissioner Indian Affairs, U.S. Office of Indian Affiars. These reports provide contexual history, some statistics, and mlitary correspondence regarding the treatment of Native Americans during the 19th Century.


"Indians of North America" at the Internet Archive. This and other LC Subject headings are searchable at the Internet Archive for a weath of primary materials on Native Americans and early contact from the 18th Century forward. results can be narrowed using the Advanced Search.

Secondary Sources and Databases

The following are good sources of secondary research and publications on issues related to Native American history, sociology, and culture. Items with an asterisk (*) denote limited or restricted access.

Native American Studies Subject Guide. This CU Boulder guide specifies a number of general databases useful in research Native American culture, history, news, and related research. The guide also highlights selected almancs, bibliographies, periodicals and microform collections available in the collection.


America: History and Life*. Extensive coverage on ethnic history, popular cuture and thought, art history, and environment.


eHRAF World Cultures*. An excellent database for relevant books and articles when searching by tribal name.


eHRAF Archaeology*. Similiar to World cultures, with an emphasis on cultural artifacts and archaeological research.


LexisNexis Academic. Useful for obtaining the full-text of U.S. Supreme Court cases.


ProQuest Congressional*. Use to access the full-text of U.S. Congressional hearings, the Serial Set, Legislative Histories, and Congressional Documents and Reports.

Policy and Law

Useful Guides and Bibliographies:

Documents of American Indian Diplomacy: Treaties, Agreements, and Conventions, 1775-1979 (KF 8202 1999)

Documents of United States Indian Policy (KF 8210.L44 D63 1990)

Executive Orders Relating to Indian Reservations, 1855-1922 (SuDoc: I 20.2:Ex 3/855-922)

Federal Indian Law. (SuDoc: I 48.6:In 2/958 958)

History of Indian Policy (SuDoc: I 20.2:H 62; Online)

Indian Tribal Claims (KF 8208.A52 S6)

Useful Subject Headings:

Indians of North America -- Government Relations

Indians of North America -- Legal status, laws, etc.

Indians of North America -- Treaties

Tribal Sovereignty

See also Native American Treaties and Information, a guide to resources from the CU Boulder Libraries.

U.S. Government Sources

U.S. Government publications provide an invaluable array of primary source documents, historical materials, raw data, and orginal research.

Center for Military History, U.S. Army. Search by name, tribe, military unit, historical event, or geographical location to find a number of military publications, articles, maps, and bibliographies.


ERIC (Education Resources Information Center). Use the Thesaurus to locate information on specific tribes, or search by the broader term "American Indians." Select the "Start an ERIC Search" button to incorpoarte these terms into a larger search.

Guides to Collections in Microfilm

Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881. 

Nat. Ar. M234

Reels: 1-2,55-70,197-214,250-273,351,367,375,546-582,835-839,878-906,928-929 (PDF Guide)


Letters sent by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1882.   

Nat. Ar. M21

Reels: 42-88 (PDF Guide)


Letters sent to the Office of Indian Affairs by the agents or superintendents at the Pine Ridge Agency, 1875-1914

Nat. Ar. M1282

Reels: 1-52 (PDF Guide)


Native Americans and the New Deal: the office files of John Collier, 1933-1945. SudDoc: I 20.2/2:N 28

Reels: 1-18  (PDF Guide)

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: central classified files, 1907-1939.

SuDoc: I 20.2/3. 

Reels: Series A, 1-25; Series B, 1-23; Series C, 1-28; Series C. Part 2, 1-11.

(PDF Guides linked by Series above)

Report books of the Office of Indian Affairs, 1838-1885. 

Nat. Ar. M358. 

Reels: 6-11 (PDF Guide)

Schedules of a special census of Indians, 1880

Nat. Ar. M1791 

Reels: 1-5 (PDF Guide)

Survey of conditions of the Indians in the United States; Reports of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes; Survey of Indian reservations. 

Full Text in Congressional Digital Hearings. See “Survey of conditions of the Indians in the United States” in Chinook

(PDF Guide)  

Biographical Information

Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of Ninety-Five of 120 Principal Chiefs from the Indian Tribes of North America. (SuDoc: I 20.2:In 2/27; Online)

Famous Indians: A Collection of Short Biographies. (SuDoc: I 20.2:In 2/26; Online)


Finding More:


Many historical figures can be found in Chinook, our catalog, by searching for their name within the Subject Field. (Click the image below to enlarge.)


Subject Searching in Chinook


Below are some suggested names as they appear in the Library of Congress subject headings, with links to holdings at CU Boulder. These same LC Subject Headings can be used in most academic and many public libraries' catalogs.

Black Kettle, Cheyenne chief, d. 1868 (Cheyenne)

Crazy Horse, ca. 1842-1877 (Oglala Sioux)

Lone Wolf, Kiowa Indian (Kiowa)

Sandoz, Mari, 1896-1966

Names can also be searched for within primary source materials, i.e., newpapers, and in government documents, such as where a tribal leader was a signatory of a treaty.


Related Topics