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Native American Studies Research Guide: Government Resources

This guide can get you started on your research in NAS!

Class Guides

Print indexes

Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1895-1976
-- Lv.1-Documents Reference: GP 3.8: (1895-1976), Lv.1 Documents Shelves: GP 3.8: (1977-present)
Index to the publications of the U.S. Government. Gives the classification number necessary to find the publications on the shelves.

Cumulative Subject Index, 1895-1899, and 1900-1971
-- Lv.1-Documents Reference:  15.73 X C9711 or GP 3.8:
Citations given under the subject refer to the year of the Monthly Catalog and the appropriate page number or item number in the Monthly Catalog.


Cumulative Title Index, 1789-1976
-- Lv.1-Documents Reference: 015.73 X L642c
This index gives the call number for older documents so it is not necessary to go back to the Monthly Catalog.

A Descriptive Catalogue of the Government Publications of the United States, Sept. 5, 1774-March 4, 1881 (Poore's Index)
-- Lv. 1-Documents Reference: Y 4.P 93/1:G 74/1 
This is a classic index for early government information. It is structured chronologically and includes an index.

Finding Government Documents

Federal government information is still making its way online. Recent reports are often available online, but historical materials are slowly being digitized by agencies, libraries, and corporate vendors. The majority of historic government information is available in print at this time.

Tracking down older government information can be challenging (but worthwhile). Items from 1976-present should be in the library catalog. The library is working on getting records for all of its government documents in the catalog, but it will take time to get 200 years worth of material in the catalog. If there isn't a record for the item you want in the catalog, the library may still own it; remember the 1976-present limitation. Try WorldCat, the digital Serial Set, or some of the print indexes to track down a call number.

You can always ask the Government Documents librarian for help in finding a government report. This is what we're here for.

Key Series

Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb37575968z/date

Level 1: SI 2.1: year (1879-80 to 1930-31, 1945-1964)
Established by an act of Congress, this series began in 1880 and continued through 1931. It consists of reports of ethnological research among North American Indians. The 48th Annual Report contains “General Index, Annual Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology”. A digitized version of the series is also available through the French National Library.

Bulletins of the Bureau of American Ethnology

Level 1:
SI 2.3: nos. 1-200 (1887-1967)
Also authorized by Congress, the bulletins were published between 1887 and 1967 and cover a broad range of topics in the field of anthropology.

Handbook of North American Indians
Level 3
Reference: 970.00497 H23617 and Level 1 Documents Reference: SI 1.20/2:
“A 20-volume set planned to give an encyclopedic summary of what is known about the prehistory, history, and cultures of the aboriginal peoples of North America who lived north of the urban civilizations of central Mexico.” The Mansfield Library has all volumes with a publication date. Other volumes are planned but have not yet been published.

Commissioner of Indian Affairs Annual Reports
Level 1-Microfiche Silver: W 1.1: 824-836 and I 20.1: 1837-1968

Board of Indian Commissioners Annual Reports
Level 1-Microfiche Silver and Print:
I 20.5: 1869-1932

Indians of (series):
Level 1:
I 20.51:

Congressional Record
Level 1: X 1.1
Available in both microfiche and paper using the same call number. The current Congressional Record is available through THOMAS (
http://thomas.loc.gov) and GPO Access (http://www.gpoaccess.gov). The Congressional Record is useful for tracking legislation. It provides the text of floor debates, references to related House and Senate Reports, and roll call vote results. The index volumes are particularly helpful for finding bills by subject, finding all remarks by a particular legislator in a session, and providing a quick overview of the path of a bill through Congress.

Committees of Congress

There are many Congressional committees that touch on American Indian-related issues in the course of working on legislation in their respective subject areas. The ones below have focused more strongly on tribal issues in their work.

  • American Indian Policy Review Commission (Y 4.IN 2/10:)
  • House Indian Affairs Committee (Y 4.IN 2/1:)
  • Select Committee on Indian Affairs (Y 4.IN 2/11:)
  • Senate Indian Affairs Committee (Y 4.IN 2/2:)
  • Senate Indian Depredations Committee (Y 4.IN 2/4:)

Useful Websites

Microfilm & Microfiche

Bureau of Indian Affairs Central Classified Files, 1907-1939
Level 1 microfilm
: 970.5 R311
Series A: Indian Delegations to Washington
Series B: Indian Customs and Social Regulations
Series C: Indian Health and Medical Affairs
Series D, pt. 1: General Organization, Regulations, and Types of Schools
Series D, pt. 2: Correspondence and Reports on Reservation Day and Boarding Schools

FBI Files on the American Indian Movement and Wounded Knee
Level 1 microfilm: 973.0497 F287
Reels 1-26

Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940
Level 1 microfiche: 970.631 I39
The Mansfield Library has those rolls for Montana tribes.

Indian Claims Commission
Level 1 microfiche: 343.73025 E96

Index to the Expert Testimony Before the Indian Claims Commission, The Written Reports, compiled and edited by Norman A. Ross.

Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs. 1824-81
Level 1 microfilm: 970.478 U58L


List of Documents Concerning the Negotiation of Ratified Indian Treaties, 1801-1869
Level 1 microfilm: 970.5 U58d

“Ratified Indian treaties are one of the basic sources of documentation of the Government's policy toward Indians and the legal status of the tribes.” This list of selected documents in the National Archives “includes all documentary materials in the records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of the Secretary of the Interior that are easily identifiable as throwing light on the authority, intent, and understanding of the men who negotiated these Indian treaties.”

Records of the Idaho Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1863-1870
Level 1 microfilm
: 970.5 U58re

Records of the Montana Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1867-1873
Level 1 microlfilm: 970.5 U584m Index

Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1848-1873
Level 1 microfilm
: 970.5 U58m

Records of the Washington Superintendency of Indian Affairs, 1853-1874
Level 1 microfilm: 970.5 U58rw

Your Librarian

Jill Howard's picture
Jill Howard
Contact:
Mansfield Library
MLIB 315
32 Campus Drive
jill.howard@umontana.edu
406-243-6866