Native American History
We observe Native American Heritage Month in November to recognize the achievements and contributions of Native Americans. In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.
The National Archives holds hundreds of thousands of U.S. Government records relating to Native Americans, from as early as 1774 through the mid-1990s. These include every treaty signed with Native Americans, records from the Indian Schools, Indian Census Rolls, and Bureau of Indian Affairs records.
Indigenous Digital Archive’s Treaties Portal
NARA collaborated with the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) to launch the Indigenous Digital Archive’s Treaties Portal. This website provides public access to digital copies of NARA’s series of ratified Indian Treaties. The award-winning project was made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor and with the support of the National Archives Foundation, a nonprofit partner of the National Archives. Read more on the Archivist's blog and in the news release.
Research ResourcesThe National Archives holds hundreds of thousands of federal records relating to Native Americans. Find them in the research portal for American Indian records and Bureau of Indian Affairs photo finding aid. View related records in the National Archives Catalog.
Native CommunitiesOur Native Communities program is an educational resource providing step-by-step instructions for locating important Native American records. We offer hands-on practice, and special Citizen Archivist Missions to make records easily accessible.
History HubThe Native American Records Community on the History Hub is a space where you can learn about finding and managing American Indian records. Ask a question, answer an unanswered question, or share your tips on how you research.
National Historical Publications and Records Commission
NHPRC-Mellon Start-Up Grants in Native American History: Support for collaborative Native American history projects including:
- Native Narratives: The Representation of Native Americans in Public Broadcasting, a digital exhibit exploring how mainstream American public media and media produced by Native Americans depict and document Native peoples.
- Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center, includes teaching kit for use in schools, libraries, and other educational institutions in the United States.
Genealogy Series: From Here to There: Researching Office of Indian Affairs Employees - Archivists offer guidance on how to research ancestors who worked for federal agencies.
New Insights: Native American History in the Colonial Period - The John F. Kennedy Library hosted a forum in March 2019.
“New Indian,”1977 - A Native American woman speaks about the American Indian Movement at the Ecumenical Conference of the North Central States.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. David Grann discussed his book at an author lecture at the National Archives. (See the accompanying interview with the Archivist of the United States in the Pieces of History blog.)
Video highlights from the Nixon Library’s April 2015 conference
National Archives News
National Archives Educators Engage with Navajo School on Civics, Treaties
Stand Up and Be Counted: Native Americans in the Federal Census
New Finding Aid Improves Search for Native American Photos
National Archives Awards Grant to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Canadian Library and Archives Officials Discuss Indigenous Initiatives
Efforts Begin to Digitize 377 Native Treaties
New York City Archives Exhibits Native Nations Treaties
AOTUS Blog: The Importance of Acknowledging History—The Archivist's blog series acknowledges the ancestral lands on which the National Archives’ buildings are situated across the country.
AOTUS Blog: National Archives and Museum of Indian Arts & Culture Share New Online Education Tool Expanding Access to Treaties Between the U.S. and Native Nations
AOTUS Blog: Ratified Indian Treaties—Making Access Happen
Education Updates: Native Warriors on Both Sides of the Battle of Little Bighorn
History Hub: Blog posts on Native American records
Pieces of History: Native American Heritage Month: N. Scott Momaday
Pieces of History: Terror on the Osage Reservation
Pieces of History: Carlisle Indian School's World War I Soldiers
Pieces of History: “A Real Injustice Was Done to These Two Old Scouts”: VA Claim File of an Indian Scout
Pieces of History: Middle Oregon Treaty of 1855
Pieces of History: The Power of American Indian Boarding School Records
Pieces of History: “Observations” of Native American Records at the National Archives
Pieces of History: Quiet Revelations at Navajo Nation
Pieces of History: Researching the Osage Murders - interview with Archivist Ferriero
Pieces of History: National Archives and the National Museum of the American Indian: A Partnership
Pieces of History: Nation to Nation: Treaties at the National Museum of the American Indian
Pieces of History: The Navajo Treaty Travels to the Navajo Nation
Pieces of History: On Exhibit: the Indian Removal Act
Pieces of History: Indian Treaties at the Museum of the American Indian
Pieces of History: The Navajo Treaty of 1868: A Personal Story
Pieces of History: Treaties at the National Museum of the American Indian
Pieces of History: Minnie Spotted Wolf and the Marine Corps
Pieces of History: “Indian New Deal”
Text Message: Meet Sgt. Eva Mirabal/Eah Ha Wa (Taos Pueblo); Women’s Army Corps Artist
The Text Message: “How about a little football game?” The Albuquerque Indian School’s Dominating Football Run, 1926–1931
The Text Message: The Stories Behind the Names: Death at the Santa Fe Indian School, 1891–1909
The Text Message: Inside the Still Imaging Lab: Digitization of the Ratified Indian Treaties, 1722–1869
The Text Message: Back to the Future: Conserving Ratified Indian Treaties, 1722–1869
The Text Message: Ratified Indian Treaties Digitization Project
The Text Message: Remembering Tony Dedman
The Text Message: “Invasion”: The 1918–1920 Pandemic on the Reservation
The Text Message: Righting a Wrong: The Return of Blue Lake to the Taos Pueblo
The Text Message: Celebrating Native American Heritage Month with the National Register of Historic Places
The Text Message: “The Most Barbarous and Inhuman Practice”: The Elimination of Slavery in the Territories, as Seen in the Office of Indian Affairs Microfilm Series
The Text Message: The War After the War: The American Indian Fight for the Vote after WWII
The Text Message: John Werito Goes to War; A Story of a WWII Diné [Navajo] Code Talker
The Text Message: From Scouting for Custer to Farming the Plains; The Life and Times of Hairy Moccasin as Seen in the Crow Indian Agency Records
The Text Message: Considerable Talent and Great Promise: the Early Years of Navajo Artist Beatien Yazz
The Text Message: We Hold the Rock!
The Text Message: “We’re not as bad as we look”: Girls’ Education at the Albuquerque Indian School
The Text Message: The Blue Arrow Head
The Unwritten Record: The Bureau of Indian Affairs—Photographs Finding Aid: A Closer Look
The Unwritten Record: Non-Military Photographs of Native Americans Within the Records of the Chief Signal Officer
The Unwritten Record: “Who Has Given More Than the Indian?”
The Unwritten Record: Dr. Paul Owen: The First PHS Optometrist
The Unwritten Record: The Indian School for Practical Nursing
David Grann: Killers of the Flower Moon
Homes on the Range; Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Industrial Surveys of the 1920s
The Civilian Conservation Corps Indian Division
A Victor in Defeat: Chief Gall’s Life on the Standing Rock Reservation
Lead the Way: U.S. Indian Scouts
Native Americans in the Antebellum U.S. Military
Native Americans in the Census
The Secret Treaties with California's Indians
Winema and the Modoc War: One Woman's Struggle for Peace
Jesse S. Haire: Unwilling Indian Fighter
"Semper Fidelis, Code Talkers"
The Search for the Site of the Sand Creek Massacre
Indian Bounty Land Applications
Snakes & Scribes: The Dawes Commission and the Enrollment of the Creeks
Thus Spoke Chief Seattle: The Story of an Undocumented Speech
The Truman Administration’s Policy Toward Native Americans
Related article by Truman Library Supervisory Archivist Sam Rushay: The complex tale of Truman and Native Americans
Finding Aid to records on Federal Indian Policy
Finding Aid to records on Native American History and Rights
Special Message to the Congress on the Problems of the American Indian: "The Forgotten American," 3/6/1968
Self-Determination and Tribal Sovereignty: The Lasting Impact of the Nixon Administration — an April 2015 academic conference at the Nixon Library
Conference video highlights:
- American Indian Activism, Tribal Sovereignty, and Nation Building: A Conversation with Tribal Leaders
- American Indian Policy of the Nixon Administration
- U.S. American Indian Policy in Early 20th Century
Native American history-related holdings at the Nixon Library
Primary sources and ready-to-use teaching activities on American Indians
Native Communities Research Guides by geographic region
Online Interactive Exhibit: Record of Rights, Rights of Native American Indians
National Museum of the American Indian’s “Nation to Nation” exhibition Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations. September 21, 2014– 2021, all treaties on loan from the National Archives.
What are people asking on History Hub about Native American Records?
- My grandmother was born Maggie Mae Brister from Mississippi on 02-27-27 she stated she was a Cherokee Indian
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- Ancestry Search
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