Guide to Native American Sources

  • Spring Semester Hours: Mon-Thurs: 8:30am-11pm; Fri: 8:30am-6pm; Sat: 11am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-11pm
  •   SSHEL North (Room 100) and SSHEL South (Room 101)
  • (217) 244-1864

Guides to Native American Sources 


Location of Materials | Call Numbers | Search Hints  Guides to Native American Sources | Journal Article and Databases | Directories  Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias and Handbooks |  Biographical Sources | Statistical Sources and Datasets Almanacs & Yearbooks  Web Resources



Location of Materials

Information about where and how you can find the materials listed in this document.

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 Library; Undergraduate Library; Literatures and Languages Library; Government Information Services; and Main Bookstacks) also have important resources for finding information about Native Americans. See the guide to  Native American Studies Library Resources.



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.



LC Number





Mythology and religion


342.73 *this number is for constitutional law in the U.S. in general*

Legal problems and issues






Art (*pre-Columbian)






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



Guides to native American Sources 

Lists of information sources such as books, journals, websites, and databases about a specific subject, with corresponding brief descriptions.

016.97000497 W585a
American Indian Studies: A Bibliographic Guide. 1995.
A list of sources arranged by type of resource, including guides to the literature, directories, encyclopedias, indexes, and abstracts, biographical sources, government publications and archival material. The core list of periodicals and the "Bibliography of Bibliographies" (arranged by topic and cultural group) are particularly useful.

016.97000497 H616g
Guide to Research on North American Indians. 1983.
An annotated list of 1,100 books, articles, and government publications divided into four parts: introductory material, history and historical sources, economic and social aspects, and religion, arts, and literature. Each section, covering topics such as political organization or urban life, begins with an essay summarizing the literature.

016.97000497 H111i
Indians of North America: Methods and Sources for Library Research. 1983. (Oak Street)
A systematic guide to conducting library research on Native Americans. Subject headings and call numbers are provided in the opening pages. Part 1 includes chapters on indexes, abstracts, and online databases, with descriptions of each source's coverage with regard to Native American topics. Part 2 is an annotated bibliography, primarily of books published since the 1970s, arranged by topics such as alcohol, art, war, and women.

016.97000497 H85n
Native Americans: An Annotated Bibliography. 1991.

A selective bibliography covering general studies and references, history, contemporary life, and cultural areas. The major portion of this book is divided into eight major cultural areas following the divisions used in the Smithsonian Institution's Handbook of North American Indians.

Guides to Children's Literature and Books 

Native American Children's and Young Adult Literature
A collection of print and web-based resources pertaining to children's literature.



Journal Article and 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. (Periodicals)
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.

970.00497 Am355 
American Indian Culture and Research Journal. Quarterly. 1974- (Periodicals) 
Dedicated to the scholarship about American Indian peoples, this journal publishes articles and reviews of recent work from a variety of disciplines, including history, literature, health, anthropology, sociology and political science. Most recent issues (last 5 years) are in SSHEL; previous volumes are in the Main Stacks. 

970.105 AMQ 
American Indian Quarterly. 1974-. (Oak Street and Online) 
American Indian Quarterly covers numerous topics on American Indians in the areas of folklore, law, education, anthropology, history, women's studies, culture, and literature

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.

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).  (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 the 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, see the “Human Relations Files Collection of Ethnography: Collection List For All formats” appended to the print “ Guide to the Human Relations Area Files”. For additional information on how to use HRAF or eHRAF, see the Guide to the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) in Print and Microfiche or eHRAF Guide. Print versions may be found in the kiosk near the SSHEL information desk.

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

Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Knowledge). 1898-present. (online)
An interdisciplinary index to social science literature that allows you to trace citations made to articles. It can also be used like a standard bibliographic database and indexes the core journals in anthropology and related fields. The SSCI is searchable in the Web of Science database.

Many other databases also include pertinent information, e.g. MEDLINE for medicine or MLA International Bibliography for literature. For further information, please ask at the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library's Reference Desk.




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

973.0497003 Am35
American Indian Reservations and Trust Areas. 1996.
Provides descriptions of the social, political, and economic conditions of Indian reservations across the nation. Tribes are listed alphabetically by state. Each entry provides a contact address, a description of the reservation's history, government, land status, and other pertinent information and statistics. Much of the data was provided by the tribes themselves. Maps and photos accompany the text. An extensive index and bibliography offer further guidance.



Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and 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.


Q.970.00497 D561 1993 
Dictionary of Indian Tribes of the Americas, 2nd ed. 3 volumes. 1993. 
This set is designed to be a first source for information that can direct the user to more detailed sources. Alphabetical entries provides 2-5 page descriptions of each group. Additional features include a detailed index and several descriptive maps. 

897.03 D561 
Dictionary of Native American Literature. 1994. (Main Stacks Ref.) 
Includes more than 70 essays by members of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures. Entries are arranged by historical period: Native American oral literature, Indian writing to 1967, and Indian writing from 1967 to the present. Each chapter includes information about anthropology, folklore, literature, and Native American studies, and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. A single index combines subjects, authors, and titles. 

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. 


497.012 C153A
American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. 1997.
Provides an overview of the linguistic history of Native Americans, with sections devoted to 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.

Q.970.00497 W146a 2009
Atlas of the North American Indian. 3rd ed. 2009. (Map Library)
An overview of American Indian history and culture, arranged chronologically, with seven chapters covering "Ancient Civilizations" to "Contemporary Indians." Each chapter is further subdivided into areas covering civilizations, cultures, and histories. Maps and drawings illustrate every chapter.

970.00497 G825b
The British Museum Encyclopedia of Native North America. 1999.
An illustrated look at the history and cultures of the peoples of Native North America from the 16 th century to the present. Covers a wide range of topics from art and government to notable people. Includes a general index.

Q.970.00497 C468
Chronology of the American Indian: A Guide to Native Peoples of the Western Hemisphere. 25,000 B.C.-1994. 1994. (Main Stacks Ref.)
This work summarizes major events of Native North American Indians, giving an overview of important topics, from prehistoric times to the mid-1990s.

330.973 En192
Encyclopedia of Native American Economic History. 1999.
The thrust of this work is to fill a void in the formalized scholarship of Native American economic history. The central basis for this work is Native American sovereignty, with a focus on economics as a foundation for real political autonomy.

E98.R2 H73 2000
The Encyclopedia of Native American Religions: An Introduction. 1992. (UGL)
Includes 1,200 alphabetical entries describing Native North Americans' traditional beliefs and practices, as well as the consequences of contact with Europeans. The encyclopedia's broad scope covers major religious systems, selected Native American religious leaders and missionaries, well-documented ceremonies, and pertinent legislation and court cases.

E76.2 W35 2006
Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. 3rd ed. 2006. (UGL)
An alphabetically arranged encyclopedia of approximately 260 Indian tribes located in U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Each article begins with a discussion of the origin of the tribal or cultural name and its pronunciation, followed by an examination of the housing, clothing, transportation, tools, arts, regions of habitation and tribal movement, initial interaction with colonists, hostilities and conflicts between tribes, legends, religions and present status. The encyclopedia ends with a glossary of terms, bibliography, and an index.

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.306 En19
Encyclopedia of World Cultures. Vol. 1: North America. 1991.
Provides detailed descriptions, written by prominent scholars, of 223 Native American cultures. The ethnographic summaries cover demography, linguistic affiliation, history and cultural relations, settlements, economy, kinship, marriage and family, sociopolitical organization, religion, and expressive culture. Includes a glossary, a list of films, and an ethnonym index that cross-references alternate names and the names of subgroups. An extensive subject index is found in Vol. 10, the index for the entire set.

973.0497 G131
The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. 1998. (Main Stacks Ref.)
A basic introduction to almost 400 groups in the U.S., Canada, and Central America. The signed essays are somewhat uneven, but provide some useful features, including biographical profiles of prominent tribal members, excerpts from oral literature, time lines, maps, finding aids, and bibliographic citations.

E76.2 N36 1994
Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia. 1994. (UGL)
This encyclopedia focuses on American Indians in the 20th century. Among the topics examined are art, daily activities, economic development, education, government policy, sports, race relations, languages, and law.

970.00497 P939n
Native Americans : An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Peoples. 1998.
Provides basic information about the history, culture, and contemporary status of over 200 Native groups in the U.S. and Canada. Tribes appear alphabetically within ten geographically defined chapters. Subheadings (e.g. religion, dwellings, diet) and a consistent level of detail allow comparison across tribes and regions, but archaeology and mythology are not discussed. Smaller groups are aggregated into larger regional and/or linguistic clusters; for more specific treatment see the authoritative Handbook of North American Indians. Includes a glossary, bibliography, and a substantial index.

Q.970.00497003 J635n
The Native Tribes of North America: A Concise Encyclopedia. 1994. (Main Stacks)
Arranged by geographic region and by languages within regions, this encyclopedia features brief articles with historical, cultural and graphical information for more than 300 native tribes in the United States and Canada.

Q.739.2708997 D852n 2003
North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: From Prehistory to the Present. 2003.
A look at the Native American jewelry and adornment in the context of history, geography and cultures, this book includes many photographs and illustrations. It contains a section of notes, a bibliography, and a subject index.

E76.2 R4 2007
Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. 13th ed. 2007.
Provides listings of organizations, government agencies, reservations, health services, schools, associations, and library collections. Also included are a bibliography of approximately 4,500 books and 2,500 biographical sketches of prominent Native Americans and non-Indians active in Indian affairs.

Q. 972.01 Ox25 2000
Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. 2000. (Online)
This encyclopedia includes more than 600 articles on Mesoamerican cultures. Time periods covered include the pre-Columbian era, colonial, and postcolonial periods. The entries cover cultures such as the Olmec, Aztec, and Maya and topics such as art, archaeology, religious studies, anthropology, history, and historiography.


970.402 H191 
Handbook of North American Indians. 1978-. (SSHEL RCC) 
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. 

Q. 970.00497 N2135 (Oak Street) 
E77 .N353 1991 (UGL) 
The Native Americans: The Indigenous People of North America. 1991. 
A cultural handbook and historical survey for Native American groups in North America organized by region. It focuses on history, material culture, subsistence patterns, and political structure. Each section contains historical photos, drawings, maps, and photos of material items for at least one group from the region. There is a bibliography and a reference list at the end of each chapter. It includes indexes.



Biographical Sources 

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

970.00497 J599e
Encyclopedia of Native American Biography : Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People from Powhatan to Wilma Mankiller. 1997.
The book features short biographies on 600 writers, warriors, explorers, religious leaders, legislators, and activists from historical times to the present. Entries were written by scholars that have researched and written extensively on Native American issues.

Q.970.00497 W146w
Who Was Who in Native American History: Indians and Non-Indians from Early Contacts through 1990. 1990.
This work selectively lists and provides brief biographical information on key figures in Native American history. Appendixes list Native Americans by tribe and non-Indians by occupations.



Statistical Sources and Datasets 

Statistical sources contain numerical facts or data. A dataset is a collection of data.

Q. 304.608997 St29 (HPNL Ref. and Oak Street)
E98.P76 S73 1993 (UGL)
Statistical Record of Native North Americans. 1993.
This compilation of statistical data on the indigenous populations of the U.S. and Canada spans estimates of pre-contact data to projections for 2040. The chapters cover topics such as history, population, family, education, culture, health, social and economic conditions, business and industry, land and water management, government relations, and law and law enforcement. Canada has its own chapter. Each data table cites the original U.S. or Canadian federal publication source. A keyword index is provided.

See also "American Indian and Alaska Native Populations" under Web Resources below.



Almanacs and Yearbooks

Almanacs are a compilation of useful data and statistics relating to countries, personalities, events, and subjects. Yearbooks are an annual compilation of facts and statistics on a particular subject for the preceding year.

973.0497002 H616n
The Native American Almanac: A Portrait of Native America Today. 1993. (Main Stacks and Oak Street)
This work focuses on various aspects of Native North American life today, and also provides summaries of laws, treaties, and court cases historically affecting American Indians. Appendixes list Native North American tribes by state, reservation, colonies, and historic Indian areas.

Q. 970.00497 N2136
The Native North American Almanac: A Reference Work on Native North Americans in United States and Canada. 1994.
Covers Native North American history (pre-1500 to1992), culture areas, religion, legal issues, administration, activism, environmental issues, demographics, arts and literature, education, economics, wealth and biography. Each chapter includes maps, lists of resources, and bibliographies. A glossary, general bibliography, and indexes by occupation, illustrations and subject are included. 



Web Resources

American Indian and Alaska Native Populations
A compilation of demographic information prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau, including data tables on social and economic characteristic, housing, and historical trends. Includes a directory of tribal leaders and a list of Federally-recognized tribes, with links to tribal government websites.

Bureau of Indian Affairs
The official site of Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) provides information on a variety of topics, including BIA history, a directory of tribal leaders, and links to information about Native American ancestry and genealogical research.

Index of Native American Resources on the Internet
An extensive and well-organized index of Native American resources on the Web including Native American nations, culture, history, health, law/government, education, art, and archaeology. In addition, it includes links to books, music, film and video, gaming resources, activist sites, and electronic texts. Also includes a collection of links to "Teacher's Resources."

Indians of the Midwest
This website, assembled by Native and non-Native scholars affiliated with the McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at Chicago’s Newberry Library, provides both historical and contemporary information about tribes in the region. Photos, videos, maps, and interactive timelines illustrate the text, which covers topics such as land, treaties, economy, identity, and stereotypes. Each section contains a "How We Know" page that links to additional resources. The site also features an "Ask A Question" page where readers can submit their own questions and read the author-generated responses to previous submissions.

Native American Authors
This site provides information on Native North American authors with bibliographies of their published works, biographical information, and links to online resources including interviews, online texts and tribal web sites.

Native American Children's and Young Adult Literature 
A collection of print and web-based resources pertaining to children's literature.

Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project
This project is a cooperative effort among the University of Oklahoma Law Center, the National Indian Law Library (NILL), and Native American tribes providing access to the constitutions, tribal codes, and other legal documents. It offers the user access to charters, codes, constitutions, Indian land titles, Supreme Court documents, and other related texts.

Native American Religions
A guide to resources developed to help UIUC undergraduate students locate materials on Native American religions both in the UIUC library system and on the Web.

Native American Sites
A well-maintained portal to Native American resources on the web. Created by a librarian, the site is organized into categories that reflect the questions most frequently asked at the reference desk. Topics include Indian education, languages, the mascot issue, and Indians in the military.

Native American Studies: Library Resources
A guide to finding resources on Native Americans across the UIUC library system. Includes search tips for the online catalog and databases, bibliographies of selected books, newspaper, microfilm and videos in UIUC collections, and links to related online resources.

NativeWeb was desgned to serve as a virtual community center. The goals of the site include disseminating information from and about indigenous nations, peoples, and organizations; fostering communication between native and non-native peoples; and providing resources, mentoring, and services to facilitate indigenous peoples' use of information technology.

SSILA: The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas 
The homepage of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA), this site is an authoritative source for information on Indian languages and language issues.


Questions? Contact us in person. (SSHEL North (Room 100) and SSHEL SOUTH (Room 101), Main Library), on the phone (217-244-1864), via email (, or IM (screen name: askillinois). Visit for more informat ion.