The Indigenous Cultures Collection highlights materials from around the globe, including items related to the Lunaapeewak peoples on whose ancestral lands sits the campus of Princeton University. More than 200 digitized resources include language-related materials, such as dictionaries and translations, and other items such as land deeds. The two collections highlighted below are materials focused on the Munsee language, highlighted in the 2022 Munsee Language & History Symposium, and Gabriel Swift's exhibit on Print Culture in Indigenous North America; additional collections are in design. Newly acquired materials are digitized and added on an ongoing basis. We are especially interested in involving community members in the process of setting priorities for what is digitized, and in providing contextual language for digitized items. If interested, please contact Anu Vedantham at email@example.com. For more information, please consult the Indigenous Studies LibGuide.
The Library of Congress has been digitizing its most unique and rare materials since the 1990s. There are many rich resources that researchers can now access online and this page focuses on the most useful of these collections for information about Native peoples.
The following special collections, arranged alphabetically, may be of interest to researchers looking into Native peoples, history and culture. Please note this list is not comprehensive, but intended to highlight collections which might be particularly fruitful for research.
Native American/Indigenous Collections https://guides.loc.gov/native-americans-rare-materials/selected-collections
National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has one of the most extensive collections of Native American arts and artifacts in the world—approximately 266,000 catalog records (825,000 items) representing over 12,000 years of history and more than 1,200 indigenous cultures throughout the Americas. Ranging from ancient Paleo-Indian points to contemporary fine arts, the collections include works of aesthetic, religious, and historical significance as well as articles produced for everyday use. Current holdings include all major culture areas of the Western Hemisphere, representing virtually all tribes in the United States, most of those of Canada, and a significant number of cultures from Middle and South America and the Caribbean.
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Archive Center actively acquires and serves as a repository for the records of contemporary Native American artists, writers, activists, and organizations. In addition, the Archive Center holds the records of the NMAI’s predecessor institution, the Museum of the American Indian (MAI), Heye Foundation.
The Archive Center supports the mission of the museum by collecting, organizing, preserving, and making available papers, records, photographs, recordings, and ephemera that reflect the historical and contemporary lives of Native peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere. The archival collections are particularly focused on Native art, culture, knowledge, politics, events, and social and political movements. They also complement the NMAI’s object collections and are used for scholarly research, exhibitions, journalism, documentary productions, and other research, educational, and Native community activities.
Researchers can find information relating to American Indians and Alaska Natives from as early as 1774 through the mid-1990s at National Archives locations throughout the country.
The National Archives preserves and makes available documents created by federal agencies in the course of their daily business. Because the U.S. government’s interactions with American Indians and Alaska Natives have changed over time, knowing the geographic place and time period of your research topic will help create a more positive research experience. As you plan your research, consider this question: how does my research topic intersect with the U.S. federal government?
To help you answer this question, use the navigation options below to explore the vast resources relating to American Indian and Alaska Native research.
Archive of Native American Recorded History https://www.nativeoralhistory.org/
From 1966-1975, philanthropist Doris Duke funded seven universities to record first-person narratives from Native people across the United States. The project resulted in more than 6,000 oral histories and hundreds of supporting documents. In 2020, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation sought to revitalize the collections by supporting the work of the seven university repositories to digitize the collections, return copies of the recordings to the originating communities, and work with the represented communities to determine culturally appropriate access.
An outcome of the Doris Duke Native American Oral History Revitalization Project was a broader vision to expand the reach of the project to any repository wishing to work collaborative with Native Nations on respectful co-curation of materials. The project is directed by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums. Content is made available through the Mukurtu Content Management System.