Guide to Resources in American Indian Studies

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Guides to Resources in American Indian Studies 


Location of Materials  | Call Numbers | Search Hints | Article & Journal Databases | Directories | Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Handbooks | Biographical Sources



Location of Materials

This guide refers primarily to sources located in the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library. All materials are shelved in the Reference Collection, unless otherwise noted.

Other units within the University Library (particularly the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library; Reference, Research, and Scholarly Services; Undergraduate Library; Literatures and Languages Library; Government Information Services; and Main Stacks also have important resources for finding information about Native Americans.



Call Numbers

Call numbers are groups of numbers and/or letters that classify library items by subject. Items are arranged on bookshelves by call number. The Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL) uses both the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems.














Mythology and religion


342.73 *constitutional law in the U.S. in general*

Legal problems and issues






Art (*pre-Columbian)




810.8=PS508.I5; 811.08= PS591.I55


History and comprehensive works throughout North America



History and comprehensive works, U.S. by region and state

E78.A-Z (Nat. Americans by state, province or region) 



Search Hints



Article & Journal Databases 

Databases are structured sets of information, stored in print or online. Often, databases are online collections of journal article citations and full-text. Find articles about a specific topic by using keywords, subject headings, authors, and more.

572.05 AB
Abstracts in Anthropology. 1970-. Quarterly. (Print)
International coverage of books, articles and conference papers in archaeology, ethnology, linguistics, and physical and cultural anthropology. Complements, rather than duplicates, other anthropological indexes. Includes references from journals not considered to be "anthropology" journals. Current year in SSHEL Reference; previous years in Main Stacks Reference.

America: History and Life. 1964-. (Online)
This index abstracts articles on current American life and the history of the United States and Canada. Subjects covered include archaeology, ethnology, social processes and social groups, demography and population, education, and the arts. It is an excellent source for articles on Native American archaeology and ethnohistory.

Anthropology Plus. 1877-. Quarterly. (Online)
Combined access to the entire backfiles of Anthropological Index (1957-present, produced by The British Museum, Anthropological Index Online) and Anthropological Literature (19th century-present, produced by Harvard's Tozzer Library). Identifies print materials in anthropology, archaeology and related interdisciplinary research areas published in almost 900 journals and monographic series. Coverage of the North American and British literature is nearly exhaustive and good for core European and Latin American sources.

ATLA Religion. (Online)
ATLA is the premier index to journal articles, book reviews, and collections of essays in all fields of religion, with coverage from 1949 and retrospective indexing for some journal issues as far back as the nineteenth century. Start here if you are looking for information about American Indian religious or spiritual practices.

Ethnic NewsWatch. 1960- . (Online)
Provides full text access for 200 newspapers and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press.

Human Relations Area Files (HRAF).  (SSHEL Microforms, Oak Street and Online)
A specially organized collection of thousands of full text sources on almost 400 cultures worldwide. HRAF can be useful for anyone looking for background information or specific data on a particular ethnic group, culture or country, as well as by those investigating subject like architecture, kinship, political structure or settlement patterns on a comparative cross-cultural basis. 

All HRAF installments published since 1995 are available only via  eHRAF World Cultures, while most older installments are available only in print or microfiche. To check which cultures are covered by HRAF in what formats, and for more information on how to use HRAF or eHRAF World Cultures, see the online SSHEL “ Guide to the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF)”.

eHRAF Archaeology. (online)
Provides access to the published literature on selected archaeological traditions worldwide, following the format and approach of  eHRAF World Cultures.

Provides page images of back issues of the core scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and basic sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Users may browse by journal title or discipline, or may search the full-text or citations/abstracts. New issues of existing titles and new titles are added approximately on a weekly basis.

For a more complete list of databases including links to freely available collections on the web, see the American Indian Studies Library Resources Guide created by the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library.




Directories are a list of organizations, groups, people, places, or other data systematically arranged often alphabetically or by location.

323.1197 In249
Indian Tribal Leaders Directory. 2011. (HPNL Ref)
This is a directory of tribal leaders of Native American groups in the United States. The directory includes chapters for regional directories including the list Bureau of Indian Representatives and listings of tribal entities by state, region, criminal jurisdiction and organization status. It contains alphabetical indexes for tribal leader name, Bureau of Indian Affairs representative, and tribal entity. Also available online as a government publication from the Bureau of Indian Affairs " Tribal Leaders Directory: Fall/Winter 2015 ". 

970.103 R2592012
Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. 17ed. 2012.
Provides listings of organizations, government agencies, reservations, health services, schools, associations, and library collections for Native American and First Nation peoples. Also included are a bibliography of approximately 6,500 books and 2,000 biographical sketches of prominent Native Americans and non-Indians active in Indian affairs.

Q. E 93 .T55 2015 
Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country. 2015.
This work provides information on the social, political, and economic conditions of American Indian Reservations. Each reservation has its own encyclopedia-like entry with statistical and contact information, a physical description of the reservation, as well as cultural, economic, government, and infrastructure information. Entries are organized alphabetically by state, and within each state alphabetically by reservation. A bibliography and index are included.



Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, & Handbooks 

Background information can be found in reference sources, online or in print, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks. Dictionaries contain brief definitions, usually only a sentence or two in length. Encyclopedias provide a more in-depth description, usually a few paragraphs in length. Handbooks contain descriptions that can be multiple pages and describe the development and future of a subject.


299.703 G41D 
Dictionary of Native American Mythology. 1992. 
An alphabetical compilation of stories, rituals, songs, ceremonies, myths, symbols and creatures drawn from Native American cultural traditions. A list of sources consulted is included for each entry. 

323.1197 L471h
Historical Dictionary of Native American Movements. 2008.
Provides a comprehensive look into the political and economic Native American movements from the 1700s to the early 2000s. Includes a helpful chronology of Native American events and an introductory essay that provides a framework for the entries that follow. An alphabetical listing of cross referenced entries on influential people, places, events and institutions is followed by a bibliography and an appendix of Indian voices from Native American Movements.


497.012 C153A
American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. 1997. (online)
Provides an overview of the linguistic history of Native Americans, with sections devoted specifically to the languages spoken in North, Middle, and South America. The origins of Native American languages and their relationships to other languages are explored. Contains maps, references, and indexes of languages, authors, and subjects.

ML102.N37 K45E5 2013 
Encyclopedia of Native American Music of North America. 2013. (Music & Performing Arts) 
This encyclopedia introduces Native American musical expressions, excluding music from Mexico. The source includes a historical overview, 10 comprehensive regional entries, over 60 alphabetical entries, an alphabetical index and information about the authors. Entries focus on key international, national, regional, and upcoming artists who represent a range of aboriginal North American music. 

Q. E76.2 .J63 2014  
Encyclopedia of Native Tribes of North America. 2014.  
The second edition of this one-volume reference work examines native tribes and cultures from Mexico to the Arctic. Entries are organized by cultural region, then divided by language family, and further separated into tribal designations. Illustrations, photographs, and maps are also distributed throughout the work. A helpful introductory chapter and a classification of Indian languages precede the main text of the work. A chapter on the status of Indians today, a glossary of terms, native population tables, an extensive bibliography, and an index conclude the volume.

Encyclopedia of North American Indians. 1996.  (Online) 
This encyclopedia includes detailed maps, pictures, biographies, and focuses on tribes as well as historical and contemporary subjects. Each entry is signed and includes references. A general index and contributor index are provided and are both hyperlinked to the entries in the encyclopedia.

Q. E 77 .W84 2015
Encyclopedia of the American Indian in the Twentieth Century. 2015. 
Through the use of biographies and concise analyses of major events, organizations, an dimportant topics, this book provides an overview of the history of the American Indian in the 20th century. Articles are cross-referenced throughout and most include a list of further readings. Includes a bibliography, an index, and lists of entries grouped by tribe, area of activity, or year of birth.

Q. 972.01 Ox25
Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. 2000.

This encyclopedia includes more than 600 articles on Mesoamerican cultures. Time periods covered include the pre-Columbian era, colonial, and post-colonial periods. The entries cover cultures such as the Olmec, Aztec, and Maya and topics such as art, archaeology, religious studies, anthropology, history, and historiography.

UXL Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. 3rd. 2012.  (online) 
Five volumes organized by region then by tribe alphabetically. Describes current and former tribes. Each entry gives information on the location, population, language, history, religion, government, economy, and culture. Entries conclude with current tribal issues and a bibliography. 


970.402 H191 
Handbook of North American Indians. 1978-. (SSHEL RCC) 
Vol. 2- Indians in Contemporary Society; Vol. 3- History of Indian-White Relations; Vol. 4 - Indian-White Relations; Vol. 5 - Arctic; Vol. 6 - Subarctic; Vol.7 - Northwest Coast; Vol. 8 - California; Vol. 9 - Southwest; Vol.10 -Southwest; Vol. 11 - Great Basin; Vol. 12 - Plateau; Vol. 13 - Plains; Vol. 14 - Southeast; Vol. 15 - Northeast; Vol.17 - Languages.  When completed, this projected 20-volume set will summarize the extant knowledge of the history and culture of all North American Indian groups. Signed essays by scholars cover a wide range of topics; each essay also includes a bibliography and suggestions for further research. Each volume includes an index and extensive bibliography.



Biographical Sources 

Biographical sources provide information about a single person or multiple people.

Q. 970.00497 W146w2001
Biographical dictionary of American Indian History to 1900. 2001. (HPNL Ref & Main Stacks)
The scope of this dictionary includes Native American and non-Indian individuals who were a significant part of pre-twentieth century Indian history. Individual’s entries include a short description of their life, their contribution to Native American history, their tribal affiliation and a bibliography of further readings. The dictionary includes several indexes including an alphabetical index, American Indians by tribal affiliation, American Indians by area of activity, non-Indians by area of activity, and entries by topic and historical period.

920.7208997 N2132001
Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. 2001. 
Provides more than 270 biographical sketches of well-known and lesser-known Native American women. Entries include notable events and contributions to Native American culture, society or history, as well as a listing of reference sources. Also included are a selected bibliography and a brief biography of contributors and editors. Appendices include entries by area of specialization, by decades of birth, by state of birth and by tribal affiliation.