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Oral History Research Guide: Oral Histories about Montana Tribal Nations

A compilation of resources on what oral history is, how to do oral history, and how to locate oral history interviews.

Oral Histories Held by Montana Tribal Nations

Many oral history interviews with Native peoples in Montana are held at tribal community college libraries and tribal archives throughout the state.

Montana is home to 13 tribal nations and 7 tribal reservations with a community college and library on each one of the reservations which serve the entire tribal community. For oral histories detailing a specific tribe's culture, customs, and history, contact one of the following libraries, archives, or culture centers for the respective tribe. Some of the interviews they hold are available to non-tribal members, while others are only available to tribal members. Each repository can also recommend print resources.


Logos of Montana's 12 Tribal Nations


Aaniiih Nakoda College Library, A'aninin / Gros Ventre and Nakoda / Assiniboine Tribes of the Fort Belknap Reservation, Harlem, Montana

Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC) Library does not hold oral history interviews of the A'aninin and Nakoda tribes. However, they do have a number of print resources which detail the history and culture of both tribes. These volumes were authored by tribal members or by people who spent a great deal of time at Fort Belknap. Click here for a list of titles. For more information about A'aninin and Nakoda tribes history and culture, contact Library Director Eva English by email or call (406) 353-2607 ext. 311.

Oral history interviews with members of the A'aninin and Nakoda tribes are held by the Fort Belknap Tribal Archives, which is overseen by Sean Chandler, American Indian Studies Director at ANC. Those interviews are available to A'aninin and Nakoda tribal members only. Contact Sean Chandler by email or call (406) 353-2607 ext. 295.


Séliš-Ql̓ispé Culture Committee, Confederated Séliš / Salish and Kutenai / Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, St. Ignatius, Montana

The Séliš-Ql̓ispé / Salish-Pend d'Oreille Culture Committee holds a number of oral history interviews with the Séliš and Ql̓ispé peoples in its archives.

For more information about access restrictions and different subjects discussed in interviews, contact the Culture Committee by email or call (406) 745-4572.


Dr. John Woodenlegs Memorial Library at Chief Dull Knife College, Tsétsėhéstȧhese and Soota’e people of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Lame Deer, Montana

Dr. John Woodenlegs Memorial Library holds a number of oral history interviews with the Tsétsėhéstȧhese and Soota’e people in its archives. These interviews are available to tribal members only. For additional information about these interviews as well as print resources held by Library which detail the history of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and the Tsétsėhéstȧhese and Soota’e people, contact Library Director Adrienne Violett by email or call (406) 477-8293.


James E. Shanley Library at Fort Peck Community College, Nakona / Assiniboine and Dakota /Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation, Poplar, Montana

James E. Shanley Library holds over 20 video recorded, oral history interviews with Nakona and Dakota tribal elders. These were originally recorded on VHS tapes, but are slated for digitization and transfer to DVD. These interviews are available to both tribal and non-tribal members.

For more information about these interviews as well as print resources held by the Library which detail the history of the Fort Peck Reservation and the Nakona and Dakota people, contact Librarian Anita Scheetz by email or call (406) 768-6341.


Little Big Horn College Library and Archives, Apsáalooke / Children of the Long Beaked Bird of the Crow Reservation, Crow Agency, Montana

Little Big Horn College (LBHC) Library holds a number of oral history interviews with Apsáalooke tribal members, including military veterans. These interviews are conducted in the Apsáalooke and English language, sometimes both in the same interview. LBHC also holds a copy of Crow Conversations with Conner, a volume of transcripts of oral histories conducted by Stuart Conner. LBHC has begun transcribing in both Apsáalooke and English a set of traditional stories / oral histories largely covering intertribal battles, some of which were told by an Apsáalooke elder named Plain Feather who lived during the buffalo days. Some of these stories are published in English in The Way of the Warrior by Barney and Henry Old Coyote and Phenocia Bauerle (2003).

For more information about access restrictions and the topics discussed in the oral histories held in the LBHC Library and Archives, contact Archivist Jon Ile by email or call (406) 638-3182. You can also contact Library Director Tim Bernardis by email or call (406) 638-3113.


Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Council, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Great Falls, Montana

The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians tribal office holds a number of oral history interviews with members of the Little Shell Chippewa people. The majority of these interviews are related to the Chippewa language. These interviews are available only to Chippewa tribal members.

For more information about these interviews and print resources, contact Tribal Council Chairman Gerald Grey by email or call (406) 315-2400.


Medicine Spring Library at Blackfeet Community College, Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Reservation, Browning, Montana

Medicine Spring Library holds over 50 oral history interviews conducted with the Blackfeet people.

For more information about access restrictions and different subjects discussed in interviews held by Medicine Spring Library, contact Director of Library Services Aaron LaFromboise by email or call (406) 338-5441 ext. 2700. For information on the interviews conducted by the Piikani Studies program, contact Mike LaFromboise by email or call (406) 338-5441 ext. 2235.


Stone Child College Library, Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation, Box Elder, Montana

Stone Child College / Rocky Boy Community Library (SCC / RBCL) holds a large collection oral history interviews conducted on VHS and DVD with Chippewa-Cree people. These interviews are available only to Chippewa-Cree tribal members. SCC / RBCL also holds a number of print resources which detail the history and culture of the Chippewa-Cree. These print resources are available to both tribal and non-tribal members.

For more information about these interviews and print resources, contact Librarian Joy Bridwell by email or call (406) 395-4875 ext. 213/214.

Oral Histories Held by Other Montana Repositories

The University of Montana's Archives and Special Collections in the Mansfield Library holds some oral history recordings with Native Americans in Montana such as the Star Quilts Oral History Project which documents quilting practices of Sioux, Assiniboine, and Chippewa women in Montana. For more information about oral histories with Native Americans held by Archives and Special Collections, email or call (406) 243-2053.

The Montana Historical Society holds oral history recordings with Native Americans in Montana, including the Native American Educators Oral History Project, which records the voices of women active in Native American education in the state of Montana.  For more information about oral histories with Native Americans held by the Montana Historical Society, call (406) 444-2694.

Print Resources on Native American Oral Histories