Native American Heritage

Native American Heritage

November is Native American Heritage Month, founded in 1990 by Public Law 101-343.  It’s a great time to learn about the rich and incredibly diverse history of our continent’s first citizens. 

 The first and foremost of our resources are databases.  These include American Indian History Online, which lets you search by region, tribe, person, event, or topic, and includes maps, pictures, documentary videos, and primary sources. Another is Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment which covers written accounts of interactions between Europeans and Native Americans (fifteenth to nineteenth century). It can be searched by year, location, personal and cultural event, nationality and kinship, flora and fauna, images, or environmental features.

 Adobe Native American picture from ImageQuest

And, of course, we’ve got books.  For your convenience, we offer ebooks like Early American Studies : Native Ground : Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent by Kathleen DuVal, Indian Voices : Listening to Native Americans by Alison Owings, and Native American Issues : A Reference Handbook by William Thompson; or print books, like the seminal Handbook of the North American Indians edited by William C. Sturtevant (REF E77 .H25).  The latter, published by the Smithsonian, is a thorough encyclopedia summarizing knowledge about all Native peoples north of Mesoamerica, including culture and history.  The volumes are broken down by region, and it includes a volume wholly dedicated to the nuances of tribal languages.

 But let’s say you would like to watch a video, instead.  Try VAST, a large collection of streaming videos.  This collection includes mainstream programs from the History Channel like Weapons of the Native Americans, Navajo Code Talkers, or Roanoke: The Lost Colony.  But it also has plenty of other videos and documentaries, including titles like Indian Self Rule by Ted D’Arms, Spirits For Sale, or The First People: The Last Word by Torsten Jansen.  VAST includes searchable transcripts of their videos, which let you link right to the parts you want to see.

 Whatever your historical research interest, the IU East Library is here to help! You can call us at 765-973-8311, email us at, or stop by for help in person.

Native American by Cavendish Morton picture from ImageQuest

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