American Indian Histories and Cultures

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Spanning four centuries and covering North and Central America, American Indian Histories and Cultures provides access to material from the Newberry Library’s extensive Edward E. Ayer Collection; one of the strongest archival collections on American Indian history in the world.

Researchers will discover insight into interactions between American Indian Peoples and Europeans from their earliest contact, continuing through the American Civil War, the ongoing repercussions of government legislation, up to the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century.


  • An original copy of The Red Man’s Greeting (1893), written on birch bark by Potawatomi Indian Simon Pokagon
  • Manuscripts, portraits and printed books relating to major American Indian figures such as Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Pontiac, Geronimo, Sitting Bull and Black Hawk
  • Original artwork depicting American Indian life by early artists and explorers
  • Treaties between American Indian Nations and the U.S. Government
  • Captivity narratives, memoirs and artworks portraying life among American Indians
  • Dictionaries and vocabulary books such as A pocket vocabulary of terms alphabetically arranged (1822) from English to Ojibwa
  • Modern manuscript collections, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs relocation records (1936-1975)
  • American Indian newspapers from the 1960s-1990s documenting contemporary topics such as civil rights and the Red Power movement, the occupation of Alcatraz and environmental issues
  • The renowned exhibition, Seeing Indian in Chicago, showcasing the work of American Indian photographers

Provider: Adam Matthew
Coverage: 17th to mid 20th Century

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