Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Native American Research and Resources

The American Indian Experience Website
Mickey Free and Youngest Daughter [4]
One in about five request is for Native American research.  However, researchers do not always know where to begin.  I usually suggest The American Indian Experience (AIE) website, where there is “a full-text digital resource exploring the histories and contemporary cultures of the indigenous peoples of the United States.”[1]  This online library offers references regarding arts and media, business and labor, civil rights, culture and more in the form of images, reference materials (titles), primary sources, timelines, and maps.

Images and Titles
The image index allows the researcher to search by categories to obtain a thumbnail of a relevant photo.  The added feature is that the source of the image and the accompanying text may be accessed by a click on the image.  In researching information on Mickey Free, I was able to obtain an image and found additional background information on him when I was directly connected to The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography: Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People from Powhatan to Wilma Mankiller  This resource led me to historical information on Mickey Free, the Pinalino Apache descendant.

The Title List  is populated with 140 reference titles.  It is amongst this collection that I found a reference to The End of the Idyll [2] the “Negro Fort” where the black slaves of Florida began collaborating with the American Indians as early as 1687. 

Primary Source Index
Many researchers enjoy perusing the Primary Source Index where you may research a native Indian tribe by name; or search for information by topic or era.  You can also do a subject search by an individual’s surname for a quote or epigraph.  It is here that I found a quote from the chief of the Blackfeet Confederacy:
What is life? It is the flashes of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. (As Long as the Rivers Shall Flow, War Resisters League, 1974.) [3]
 Timeline and Historical References
As genealogists and family historians we know that social history helps tell the stories of our ancestors.  Finding information and clues of the American Indian social history based on time periods can easily be accessed through the Timeline feature of The American Indian experience website.  This timeline is subdivided by education, laws and legislation, wars and conflicts, etc., for easy research.

Landmark Documents and Maps
Early maps of tribes, current reservations, and exploration and settlements can be found using the website’s Landmark Documents feature. 

This website is a must when researching Native American ancestry and history.

Accurate, Accessible Answers

[1] The American Indian Experience website: http://aie.greenwood.com/about.aspx; accessed 1 Jun 2010
[2] Anderson, Robert L. ‘The End of an Idyll.” Florida Historical Quarterly 42, no. 1 (July 1963): 35–47. The American Indian Experience website http://aie.greenwood.com/doc.aspx?i=0&type=all&fileID=GR2347&chapterID=GR2347-2121&path=books/greenwood/#textml; accessed 1 Jun 2010
[3] The American Indian Experience website: http://aie.greenwood.com/doc.aspx?fileID=GR9121&chapterID=GR9121-385&path=books/greenwood/; accessed 1 Jun 2010.  It is not clear if the credit to quote should be given to Crowfoot or Ceowfoot.
[4] Mickey Free and Youngest Daughter;  The American Indian Experience website:http://aie.greenwood.com/doc.aspx?fileID=ENAB&chapterID=ENAB-1620&path=encyclopedias/greenwood#ENAB_fig039.jpg; accessed 1 Jun 2010.


  1. Thank you for these links - this is something that I need to look into.

  2. Thanks for this link. I haven't Indian ancestry, but I've recently been thinking about some of the Native Americans who sold land to ancestors, or who had other dealings with ancestors in court records. Instead of just recording their names I'd like to know more about them. These were obviously neighbors and members of the community, and could greatly increase my understanding of the locality.

  3. Thanks for posting these great links Kathleen! Much appreciated!!