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History Institute

Resources for Learning About Native Americans

The First Americans
The section called Pre-Columbian Native American Cultural Hierarchies has an interactive map of the Native American culture regions of the U.S. with descriptors of the cultures that lived in those regions. The Four Directions of Native American History section has a brief discussion of the four major events in Native American history that led to the majority of the depopulation and loss of land.

National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian site includes book selections, photos, teacher resources, etc. Standard 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3, 5.3.0, and 8.8.2

Powwow-Indians of North America (CSU-Long Beach)
The word "powwow," which we associate with the powwow celebrations, or with powwow dances, actually began as a name. The term came from the Algonkian-speaking Narragansett Indians of the Northeastern part of the country we call today the United States. The word referred, not to a dance or celebration, but to a shaman or teacher, a dream or vision, or a council or gathering. When the English met with Indian leaders they would "powwow together," or in Indian society one might visit a "powwow" because of his or her healing powers.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History
American Indians and the Natural World (Carnegie Museum of Natural History)
The enduring heritage of connections between American Indians and the natural universe are the focus of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Standards 5.1.1, and 5.1.2

Library of Congress-American Memory Collection
American Indians of the Pacific Northwest

This digital collection integrates over 2,300 photographs and 7,700 pages of text relating to the American Indians in two cultural areas of the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest Coast and Plateau. These resources illustrate many aspects of life and work, including housing, clothing, crafts, transportation, education, and employment. The materials are drawn from the extensive collections of the University of Washington Libraries, the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (formerly the Cheney Cowles Museum/Eastern Washington State Historical Society), and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. Standards 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3, 5.3.0, 8.8.2, and 8.12.2

Critical Bibliography on North American Indians
A critical bibliography on North American Indians, for K-12.
From the Smithsonian Institute-Anthropology Outreach

Techniques for Evaluating American Indian Web Sites
The purpose of this Web page is to provide some guidelines useful for evaluating and identifying Web sites that contain accurate information and that are not exploitative of American Indians. Note that these guidelines are not all-inclusive nor are they foolproof. Web site evaluation must also include the knowledge that one already has about Native peoples and brings to the Web. If you don't know if a site is presenting accurate information, find a source that you trust, online or offline, and compare what you find there with what you find in the Web site.

Native American Studies
Here are the homepages of a selection of Native American Tribes & Nations.
Standard 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3, 8.8.2, and

Native American Nations
This site contains links to pages that have either been set up by the Native American nations themselves, or are pages devoted to a particular nation organized alphabetically by tribal name. Included are both recognized and unrecognized tribes. Standard 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3, and 8.8.2

Native American Art and Education Center
This is an interesting site with art collections, biographies of Native American leaders, legends, and animal spirit symbols. It features the Cherokee people but links to related sites. It is recommended by both the History Channel and Discovery Channel. Standard 5.1.1 and 8.8.2

First Nations Histories
Dick Shovel has begun compiling good general historical & cultural overviews of a couple of dozen tribes. Deemed authentic by other Native American websites, Mr. Shovel also has a listing of tribes, both federally and state recognized, as well as those with no formal governmental recognition at all. Standard 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3, 8.8.2, and

Lakhota/Dakhota/Nakhota (Sioux) Literature
Here are more than a dozen stories from the Sioux tradition as well as links to other sources on language, leaders, and history. Standard 5.1.2

This rich site has myths, legends and stories from Native American and other culture groups. They are organized by theme, historic leader. Standard 5.1.2 and 8.8.2

MAPS: GIS Windows on Native Lands, Current Places, and History
Here are maps of U.S. tribes by region and state. Included are court recognized lands and population maps. Standard 5.1.1

Eyewitness on the Old West
Designed by Ibis Communications, this site is dedicated to learning about history from the eyes of the people who witnessed it. This page has eyewitness accounts of the Buffalo Hunt in 1846, the Massacre at Wounded Knee, Battle with the Apache in 1872, and Custer's Last Stand. Standard 8.8.2 and 8.12.2

Marilee's Native Americans Resource II: Individual Tribes
Here are student-friendly resources on the following Native American peoples: Cherokee, Comanche. Cree, Haida, Hopi, Inuit, Iroquois, Navajo, Nez Perce, Pomo, Sioux, Ute, and Wampanoag. The sources cited are more readable than scholarly and should be one of rather than the sole source used. Standard 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.3, and 8.8.2

Treaty of Greenville August 3, 1795
Here is the text of the Treaty between the U.S. and the tribes of Indians in the Ohio Valley after General Anthony Wayne defeated them in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The tribes included the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanees, Ottawas, Chippewas, Pattawatimas, Miamis, Eel Rivers, Weas, Kickapoos, Piankeshaws, and Kaskaskias. The Treaty established a definite boundary between Indian lands and those lands open to white settlement. It is important to see the promises made by the parties in 1795 as a way to judge the promises kept in the 1800's. Standard 5.8.0, 8.8.2, and 8.12.2

The West: 1862-1893
The series of maps at this site really drive home the changes in the west and their influence on Indian Policy after the Civil War. This Biography of America site has a transcript of the historical video on which the site was built which discusses the impact of this rapid conquest of the interior of the U.S. on native peoples. There is also a timeline and a webliography linking to other sources. Standards 8.12.1, 8.12.2 and 8.12.7

Geronimo: His Own Story
This is the autobiography of Apache leader Geronimo who was born in 1829 and lived through most of the devastating changes experienced by his people during the 19th century. He describes the Apache people in the first part of the document and then his encounters with people he refers to as Mexicans and White Men. His description of the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis that he attended in his later life is particularly fascinating. Standard 8.12.2

Who Stole the Tee Pee?
This is a virtual tour of the National Museum of the American Indian Exhibitions. "Who stole the tee pee?" is a question posed by artist George Littlechild. It's another way of asking, "What happened to our traditions?" Missionaries, soldiers, teachers, government officials, and social reformers took away much of Native culture. Did they steal the tee pee? Or did they create a situation in which some Indian ancestors were more than willing to give it up? Standard 8.12.2

Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868)
In the 19th century the American drive for expansion clashed violently with the Native American resolve to preserve their lands, sovereignty, and ways of life. This struggle over land defined relations between the U.S. Government and Native Americans throughout the era. In this treaty, signed on April 29, 1868, between the U.S. Government and the Sioux Nation, the United States recognized the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, set aside for exclusive use by the Sioux people. Standard 8.12.2

Dawes Act (1887)
Federal Indian policy during the period from 1870 to 1900 marked a departure from earlier policies that were dominated by removal, treaties, reservations, and even war. The new policy focused specifically on breaking up reservations by granting land allotments to individual Native Americans. Also known as the General Allotment Act, the law allowed for the President to break up reservation land, which was held in common by the members of a tribe, into small allotments to be parceled out to individuals. Thus, Native Americans registering on a tribal "roll" were granted allotments of reservation land. Standard 8.12.2

Dakota Conflict Trials, 1862
A decade before the Dakota Conflict, the Minnesota Territory, stretching from the upper Mississippi to the Missouri River, was still mostly Indian country. The causes of the the Dakota Conflict are many and complex. The treaties of 1851 and 1858 contributed to tensions by undermining the Dakota culture and the power of chieftains, concentrating malcontents, and leading to a corrupt system of Indian agents and traders. This site by Douglas Linder recounts the chronology and the subsequent trial of the Sioux convicted of killing American soldiers as a result of the uprising known as the Dakota Conflict. Standard 8.12.3

Desert Peoples of the American Southwest
This site organizes information about Native American peoples of the desert southwest for easy access. It includes both ancient peoples, such as the Anasazi and Hohokham, as well as modern Native American groups. Standards 5.1.1 5.1.2, 5.1.3, and 8.8.2

Native Americans in Indiana: Resistance and Removal
This is a fairly extensive discussion of what happened to Native Peoples in the Northwest Territories as Euro-Americans continued to move westward as part of thier fulfillment of what they considered "Manifest Destiny". The Removal Journal of Daniel Dunihue at http://www.connerprairie.org/HistoryOnline/augjourn.html provides primary source information in support of this discussion from the Conner Prairie museum site. The list of the Indians forced from their homes may be found at http://www.connerprairie.org/HistoryOnline/muster.html. Standard 8.8.2 and 8.12.2

Cherokee Letter Protesting the Treaty of New Etocha
The Cherokee nation was one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" in the southeast, but Andrew Jackson planned their removal along with all other tribes existing east of the Mississippi River. Chief John Ross and other leaders of the Cherokee nation wrote a letter to Congress to protest the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. This treaty, signed by a group of Cherokees claiming to represent their people, stated that the tribe would relocate west of the Mississippi. Standards 5.3.4 and 8.8.2

John Ross: A North Georgia Notable
Though John Ross was only one-eighth Cherokee, he practiced and honored his American Indian heritage. After election as Chief of the Cherokee Nation he fought hard against Indian removal through every legal process possible. In the end he lost and was forced to lead his people on the Trail of Tears. Standards 5.3.4 and 8.8.2

President Andrew Jackson's Message to Congress 'On Indian Removal' (1830)
With the onset of westward expansion and increased contact with Indian tribes, President Jackson set the tone for his position on Indian affairs in his message to Congress on December 6, 1830. Jackson’s message justified the removal policy already established by the Indian Removal Act of May 28, 1830. It became the cornerstone of U.S. Indian policy for the next century. Standard 8.8.1

Scenes from the Eastern Woodlands: Virtual Tour 1550
In brief, clear language support by detailed color drawings, this site explains what life was like among Eastern Woodlands people in the mid 1500s. There are pages on building wigwams, making pottery, hunting and much more. It links to other technologies and arts for Eastern Woodlands peoples. Standard 5.1.1, 5.1.2, and 5.1.3

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