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Federal Documents about American Indians

This guide is intended as an introduction to U.S. federal documents about North American Indians. The subject matter covered in documents ranges from laws and treaties to materials on the environment, languages, arts and culture, health, education, and more.

Table of Contents:

IDENTIFYING BOOKS AND MONOGRAPHS IN MNCAT

MNCAT, the Libraries' online catalog, includes information on U.S. documents from 1976 to the present, with some earlier documents and many publications from other sources from all years. MNCAT is a good place to start your research.

To reach MNCAT from LUMINA, select MNCAT below Books and More. A QuickStudy tutorial about using MNCAT to find books is available.

In MNCAT you can also use browse, keyword, and other types of searches. For example, using words that could be in the title or are part of a subject heading (see LC Subject Headings, below ), you could enter a Keyword Search: Indians North America pottery.

Restricting a search to U.S. documents:

Using Advanced Search, after you enter your search word(s) or phrase(s), scroll down to Limit search to, select Format, and select the Material Type Govt Publications, Federal/National.
A catalog that contains only U.S. documents from July 1976 to the present is Marcive WebDOCS [Also available from Indexes in MNCAT]
â–¶ Available only to students, faculty, and staff of the U of M unless accessing from a U of M campus library.
  • Library of Congress Subject Headings

    Using exact subject headings is a good way to be sure you are finding all the materials on your subject.

    Indians
    Indians of North America
    (tribal name, i.e. Modoc Indians; Dakota Indians)
    Indians of North America-Economic conditions
    Indians of North America-Government relations
    Indians of North America-Land tenure
    Indians of North America-Legal status, laws, etc.
    Indians of North America-Treaties
    (tribal name)-Treaties
    Example: Dakota Indians-Treaties
    Indians of North America (with subdivision by state or Canadian province)
    Example: Indians of North America-Minnesota
    Federally recognized Indian tribes
    Indian art-North America
    Tribal trust funds
    Wounded Knee (S.D.)-History-Indian occupation, 1973
INDEXES AND CATALOGS FOR IDENTIFYING DOCUMENTS NOT IN MNCAT

Because the U.S. government documents listed on MNCAT date primarily from 1976 to the present, you will need to use other indexes and catalogs to find earlier publications. These include:

  • Descriptive Catalogue of the Government Publications of the United States, September 5, 1774-March 4, 1881
    Arranged chronologically and with general index. Continued by Ames' Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government, 1881-1893 and by the Catalogue of Public Documents, 1893-. Issued by the Superintendent of Documents. (aka the "Document catalogue").
    Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government, 1881-1893
    Arragement is alphabetical, by subject, and has a personal name index. Serial Set volume numbers are given under the heading "Congressional Documents".
    Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
LEGISLATIVE BRANCH DOCUMENTS
  • Congressional Publications & Executive Branch Documents Authentication Required
    Congressional Publications & Executive Branch Documents provides access to full-text, indexing, and abstracts of published and unpublished Hearings, Congressional Committee Prints, and Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. The full list of searchable congressional publications and date coverages includes:
    • Legislative Histories 1969-Present
    • Bills & Laws 1789-Present
    • Committee Prints & Misc. Publications 1789-Present
    • Congressional Record Bound Edition & Predecessors 1789-Present
    • Congressional Record Daily Edition 1985-Present
    • CRS Reports 1916-Present
    • Hearings 1824-Present
    • House & Senate Documents 1789-Present
    • House & Senate Reports 1789-Present
    • Serial Set 1789-Present
    • Executive Branch Documents 1789-1945
    • U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774-1873
      This site, created by the Library of Congress, contains searchable images of Congressional proceedings published in the Annals of Congress, Register of Debates, and Congressional Globe from the time of the Continental Congress through 1873.
  • House and Senate Reports and Documents (the Serial Set)

    The Serial Set is comprised of the bound, sequentially numbered volumes of the reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives dating from 1789 to the present. It is a rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history, and contains many documents relating to American Indians. Indexes can be found in the Libraries and online. Many volumes are in the Libraries in paper, all are available in microfiche in the Law Library, and some are available online.

    • Indexes
      • Congressional Publications & Executive Branch Documents Authentication Required
        Provides easy to use and comprehensive access to U.S. legislative information. Also includes links to political parties and organizations, news sources, etc. See Overview/Help for useful information on the legislative process.

        See especially the Historical Indexes, 1789-1972 section, which contains CIS indexing and abstracting of historical congressional publications (1789-1969) and transcripts of unpublished hearings (1823-1972).
        The main CIS Index in LexisNexis-Congressional has abstracts and indexes for 1970 to the present. Note that in the CIS Index section House and Senate documents and reports are indexed, but the actual Serial Set number is not indicated. See library staff for assistance in finding the documents.

      • CIS U.S. Serial Set Index
        Each part consists of 3 volumes: Subject index, A-K; subject index, L-Z; Finding lists; pt. 13 consists of 4 volumes each with title: Index by reported bill numbers.
        • Location(s): TC Law Library Microform Collection (US Docs) Mfiche Y 1.1/2:HardcopyIndex One Week Loan
        Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
      • Guide to American Indian documents in the Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1899 : a project of the Institute for the Development of Indian Law
        • Location(s): TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (Reference) KF8201.A1 J63 Non-Circulating
        Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
    • Texts in the Libraries & Online
      • New American State Papers: Indian Affairs
        Contains the American State Papers (documents, legislative and executive, of the Congress of the United States), other documents from the Serial Set, and documents from the Legislative Archives Section of the National Archives, through about 1827.
        • Location(s): WILSON Quarto E93 .U938 1972
        Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
      • U.S. Congressional Serial Set - Digital Edition Authentication Required
        A rich source of primary source material on all aspects of American history, from the bound, sequentially numbered volumes of all the reports, documents, and journals of the US Senate and House of Representatives. Additional congresses are added each month.
      • A Century of Lawmaking
        Selected volumes of the United States Congressional Serial Set have been digitized in A Century of Lawmaking. Documents directly related to Native Americans included on this site as of August 2004 include:
        Correspondence on the Emigration of Indians 1831-33 (23rd Congress, 1833-1835, Senate Document 512. Serial Set nos. 244-248)

        Indian Land Cessions in the United States (56th Congress, 1899-1901, House Document 736. Serial Set no. 4015) -indicates the number and location of each cession by or reservation for the Indian tribes from the organization of the federal Government to and including 1894 (includes maps)

  • Laws
    • Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties
      Indian affairs. Laws and treaties. Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1904-41. v. 1. Laws. Compiled to Dec. 1, 1902. v. 2. Treaties. v. 3. Laws. Compiled to Dec. 1,1913. v. 4. Laws. Compiled to March 4, 1927. v. 5. Laws. Compiled from Dec. 22, 1927, to June 29, 1938.
      • Location(s): WILSON Reference Quarto KF8203 1972 Check MNCAT by title for other editions and locations.
      Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
    • Avalon Project
      Search: Native Americans Includes treaties from 1789-1887
  • Statutes
    The laws created by each Congress are compiled into the United States Statutes at Large. The title has varied over time: Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America; United States. Laws, etc; Statutes at Large of the United States of America ...
    • U.S. Statutes at Large
      Every law, public and private, ever enacted by the Congress is published in the Statutes at Large in order of the date of its passage. Until 1948, all treaties and international agreements approved by the Senate were also published in the set. In addition, the Statutes at Large includes the text of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, amendments to the Constitution, treaties with Indians and foreign nations, and presidential proclamations.
      • Location(s): TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (US Ref) AE 2.111: 1789 - present.
      Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
    • Statutes of the United States Concerning Native Americans
      A product of the Avalon Project at the Yale Law School, the full text of various "Statutes of the United States Concerning Native Americans" from pre 1800 to the present are presented in chronological order. The full-text of treaties, cases, etc., is given.
    • Public and Private Laws
      Contains text of the public laws passed by each Congress; electronic version of print publication United States Statutes at Large.
    • N.B.
      The Statutes at Large present a chronological arrangement of the laws in the exact order that they have been enacted. Because the text of laws published as Public Laws and Statutes at Large are the same, there is not a Statutes at Large database on GPO Access. However, users may perform a search by Statutes at Large citation in both the Public Laws and U.S. Code databases
  • United States Code
    The United States Code contains the general and permanent laws of the United States. An edition is published by the Government Printing Office every six years and is updated with annual supplements.
  • Treaties
    • Treaties Between the United States of America and Several Indian Tribes from 1778 to 1837, with a Copious Table of Contents
      • Location(s): Law Library Rare Books (American Indians) KF8202 1837x
      Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
    • Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties
      Indian affairs. Laws and treaties. Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1904-41. v. 1. Laws. Compiled to Dec. 1, 1902. v. 2. Treaties. v. 3. Laws. Compiled to Dec. 1,1913. v. 4. Laws. Compiled to March 4, 1927. v. 5. Laws. Compiled from Dec. 22, 1927, to June 29, 1938. Treaties available at Oklahoma State University
      • Location(s): WILSON Reference Quarto KF8203 1972 Check MNCAT by title for other editions and locations.
      Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
JUDICAL BRANCH DOCUMENTS & WEBSITES EXECUTIVE BRANCH DOCUMENTS
Official reports from executive agencies were often published by the agency and also printed in the Serial Set. In addition to the Serial Set indexes (see above), the following indexes will help identify them.
  • CIS index to U.S. executive branch documents, 1910-1932: guide to documents not printed in the U.S. Serial Set
    • Location(s): Wilson Library Gov Pub (Ref Indexes) Quarto JK411 .C532x 1996
    Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Native American Documents Project
    Native American Documents Project of the California State University, San Marcos, begun in 1992, is digitizing various documents related to federal Indian policy history. Many documents are now available and more will come soon.
  • Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
    The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consist of approximately 20,000 documents. The collection is organized into three "General Correspondence" series that include incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed material. Most of the 20,000 items are from the 1850s through Lincoln's presidential years, 1860-65, and many relate to American Indian topics.
ARCHIVAL RECORDS
  • Guide to records in the National Archives of the United States relating to American Indians
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library E93 .H5x 1982 Regular Loan
    TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (US Ref) GS 4.6/2:AM 3 Regular Loan
    TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (US Docs) GS 4.6/2:Am 3 Regular Loan
    TC Wilson Library Reference E93 .H5x 1982 Non-Circulating

    Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Glossary
    ICWA Indian Child Welfare Act
    IGRA Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
    IRA Indian Reorganization Act
    NAHASDA Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act
    --NAHASDA Act of 1996
    NAGPRA Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
    NIGA National Indian Gaming Association
    TCCA Tribally Controlled Community Colleges Act
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE MATERIALS

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