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Indigenous Peoples: Primary Materials

This guide supports Prof. Ulrike Wiethaus' courses on Indigenous Peoples.

Primary Materials

Primary materials can be anything that is contemporary with the period or item studied.  Formats may include:

  • Oral Histories
  • Photographs or artwork
  • Newspaper or magazine stories written in the time of the studied event
  • Treaties, dispatches or other such documents
  • Journals
  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Baskets, tools or other objects

In this section, you'll find sources for many of these formats, but treaties are in a separate tab.



Indian School

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             Native American School Children c. 1900

Oral Histories

The Doris Duke Oral History Collection is available through the University of Oklahoma Western History Collection.  From the opening page, you can search or browse - by tribe, topic or name.  Transcripts of the interviews are available in PDF format.


After Columbus
"Four-hundred Years of Native American Portraiture" from the collections of New York Public Library.

C. Hart Merriam Collection of Native American Photographs
Collection of more than 1400 photographs taken between 1890 and 1938.

Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian
Digitized version of Edward S. Curtis's 20 volume set originally published between 1907-1930. Part of American Memory. Also see Edward S. Curtis Collection.

Images of Native Americans
Bancroft Library exhibit of Native American images in historical and popular cultural contexts.

North American Ethnographic Collection
Collection of more than 47,000 objects from the American Museum of Natural History.

Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains
Digital historic photographs and artifacts depicting the history and life of Native Americans in the region.

Theodore De Bry Copper Plate Engravings
A collection of images and descriptions depicting early American Indian life.

Newspapers and other Text Sources

ProQuest Historical Newspapers
In this database, you'll find 3 newspaers dating back to their firs tissues:  New York Times (1851 - 2005 ), Chicago Tribune (1849 - 1985) and the Wall Street Journal (1889 - 1989)

Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective
Contains full text articles from both Northern and Southern newspapers, presenting news articles, eye-witness and official reports of battles, editorials and images.

Early American ImprintsIncludes the full text of all known existing books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the Thirteen Colonies or the United States between 1639 and 100.  Periodical and newsaper articles are not included.

Landmark Documents of the United States

Letters, Diaries, Personal Narratives

In the First Person
A database that links users to full text English-language oral histories on the free web and in proprietary databases published by Alexander Street Press. WFU does not subscribe to all Alexander Street Press databases.


Subject Guide

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Hu Womack
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