The Scout Report
October 18, 2013 -- Volume 19, Number 42
Native people have lived on the North American continent for millennia. Only since 1990, however, has the U.S. Government recognized Native American Heritage Month (which has also been designated National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, among other things) in November. This designation prompted us to seek out the wealth of information by and about Native people available on the Internet. We found a huge variety of resources, and although they represent only a sliver of the diversity of Native peoples who lived and live in North America, we hope they will inspire readers to find out more.
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A Publication of Internet Scout
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
First Nations Collection
American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection
New York State Archives: Native American Digital Collection
Native American Manuscript Collections
The Indian Sentinel, 1902-1962
Heard Museum: American Indian Art and History
Seminole Tribe of Florida
Native American Times
American Indian Policy Institute
National Indian Law Library
Indian Country Today
Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Native American Affairs: Department of Commerce
Administration for Native Americans: Children & Families
American Indian Environmental Office Tribal Portal
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The First Nations Tribal Collection of the Southern Oregon Digital Archives contains books, articles, and documents related to the history of the native peoples of the area, including the Coos, Hupa, Karuka, Klamath, and more. Many of the items here are in the public domain, and they include tribal language dictionaries, Bureau of Indian Affairs publications, and publications from the Bureau of American Ethnology. Visitors can look through the materials via the Author List or use the Title heading to look around. Documents on the site include a wealth of treaties regarding fishing practices and limitations along with documents detailing the particulars of different religious ceremonies. The site is rounded out by the inclusion of a comprehensive search engine. [KMG]
Created by the University Libraries of the University of Washington, this remarkable digital archive presents a vast collection of materials related to the Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures. Along with these primary source items, the site also contains essays written by anthropologists, historians, and teachers about particular tribes and cross-cultural topics. Additionally, the site contains bibliographies and links to related text and images and lesson plans for K-12 educators. The database contains over 2,300 original photographs, 1,500 pages from the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior from 1851 to 1908, and six Indian treaties negotiated in 1855. Visitors can try out a Sample Search and then go ahead and get started with their own quest for knowledge and edification. Additionally, visitors can use the Browse Images and Browse Documents tabs to explore this massive collection. [KMG]
The New York State Archives contains a vast cornucopia of materials related to the history of Native American groups in the Empire State and surrounding areas. On this site, visitors can take advantage of maps, artifacts, photographs, and publications that document communities such as the Iroquois Six Nations, the Long Island Algonkians, the Shinnecocks, and the Poospatucks. The materials here are divided into areas that include Maps, Visual Resources, Treaties and Land Use, and Census Records. First-time visitors should take a look at the Artifacts area to explore annotated photos of items such as cradleboards, moccasins, and elaborate pouches. The Treaties and Land Use area is quite compelling, as it features thirteen documents that provide insights into the relationships between various nations and the federal and New York state governments. The Maps area should not be missed as it contains representations of various reservations in the 18th and 19th century rendered with great detail. [KMG]
Based at the University of Oklahoma's Western History Collection, the Native American Manuscript Collections contain over 200 documents relating to Native Americans in Oklahoma, Indian Territory, and the southwestern United States. On the homepage, visitors can browse the manuscripts, which are listed by nation. The Creek Nation area is quite fascinating, as there are over 35 documents here including handwritten journals, trading company ledgers, and letters from farmers like James M. Latty and other Creeks. After this introduction, visitors can browse around through the works of other nations, including the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw. [KMG]
The Indian Sentinel was published from 1902 to 1962 by the Catholic Church and it serves as a fascinating repository of information about the ways in which this organization interacted with various Native American communities during the first half of the 20th century. Over its six decades, the Sentinel featured articles about Native Americans across the United States and their evangelization by the Catholic Church. Most of the accounts in these pages contain first-hand musings by lifelong missionaries, along with a bevy of photographs. The site also has a set of Search Tips for those looking for articles that mention specific Catholic religious groups, including the Benedictine Sisters, the Grey Nuns, and others. [KMG]
In 1929, the Heard Museum was founded by early Phoenix settlers Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard. The focus of the museum then and now was "to educate people about the arts, heritage and life ways of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, with an emphasis on American Indian tribes of the Southwest." On the website, visitors can learn about the museum's collections, upcoming programs, and volunteer opportunities. The site contains a number of thematic areas, including Events, Library, and Explore Art. One area that should not be missed is the Featured Documentaries. Here visitors can learn about the museum's public art projects, archaeological efforts, and concerts. The Current Exhibitions area contains highlights from recent offerings, such as Native People in the Southwest and Chocolate, Chili & Cochineal: Changing Taste Around the World. Finally, the link to the Library is a real treat. The digital collections here cover the Heard Museum Indian Fairs and Markets, the storied Fred Harvey Company, and a wide selection of elaborate beadwork items. [KMG]
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is the only tribe in the United States that has never signed a peace treaty and its website provides ample information about Seminole history, culture, government, business ventures, and publications. Visitors might want to look first at the Seminole Tribune, which offers excellent current news updates on the goings on throughout the community. Moving on, the Government area contains key information about the operations of the tribal council, the board of directors, and day-to-day activities. The Culture area offers interested parties access to slideshows, fact sheets, and information about Seminole material culture. One section that should not be missed is the History area. Here, visitors can learn about the tribe's history, resistance, and storied Council Oak. [KMG]
The Native American Times makes good on its promise to deliver "today's independent Indian news." The site has a clean design that includes ten sections covering topics like business, culture, education, sports, and powwows. The News area offers a nice digest of what's going on in several areas of interest to Native Americans, with topical headlines that include "Cherokee Art Market Announces Winners" and "Yakama Maintain Wild Horse Race Tradition." The site also includes a great jobs area for folks who might be looking for Native American-focused work in public policy, community development, technology, and other fields. [KMG]
Based at Arizona State University, the American Indian Policy Institute collaborates with tribal governments and American Indian communities on issues that affect them and also works to nurture innovation for American Indian sustainability. The site offers a wealth of reports, news articles, publications, conference programs, and other items that will be of interest to scholars. The Reports & Publications area contains thoughtful missives such as "Tribes and Energy within Arizona" and "Land Use Challenges and Choices for the 21st Century." The Award-Winning First Innovations area offers up a host of best practices designed to introduce sustainability entrepreneurship in Native American communities. Additionally, the Projects & Initiatives area offers detailed program information about tribal planning summits and financial management seminars. [KMG]
The National Indian Law Library (NILL) has worked for over three decades to bring together key resources for Native Americans and their advocates in the field of legal scholarship and service. Today it remains the only entity that offers a comprehensive vision of past and present tribal governmental documents from across the United States. The NILL is based in Boulder, Colorado and its website provides selected documents, information on ongoing activities and the very useful Indian Law News Bulletins. These bulletins are published almost every week and offer succinct and timely information about new developments in Indian Law. Visitors can search through the archives of these bulletins back to 1998, or look through the bulletins for links to germane legal briefs. This same area contains links to digests that cover activities in state courts, federal trial courts, and law review journal articles. Users shouldn't miss the Research By Topic area, which contains links that deal with 20 different themes, including tribal education, health & human services, sacred sites, prisoners' issues, and child welfare. [KMG]
The Indian Country Today website is a one-stop shop for people with an interest in the world of Native American culture. The site includes special sections dedicated to news updates in the areas of genealogy, sports, environment, politics, and so on. First-time visitors will want to look at the Editor's Picks to get started, as this contains the most salient news items as of late. The Around the Web area features stories related to Native Americans from a range of online media sources. People with a visual bent will appreciate the Our World In Pictures area, as it contains key links to images culled from across the country, including blogs, Flickr, and a range of other sources. Finally, the Things About area provides thoughtful opinion pieces on a range of topics that affect Native Americans, including higher education, federal policy changes, and environmental degradation. [KMG]
The Alaska Native Knowledge Network (ANKN) was established to serve as "a resource for compiling and exchanging information related to Alaska Native knowledge systems and ways of knowing." To achieve this goal, the website brings together publications, information about academic programs, curriculum resources, and a calendar of events. In the Curriculum Resources area, visitors can look over lesson plans, fact sheets, and classroom activities that weave together indigenous and Western knowledge systems. Moving on, the Publications area contains links to print publications for sale and a range of free titles, including "Guidelines for Culturally Responsible School Boards" and "Guidelines for Respecting Cultural Knowledge." Also, visitors should take a look at the Announcements area for updates about relevant training programs, workshops, and conferences. [KMG]
The United States Department of Commerce has an active Native American Affairs program whose work is coordinated by a team of government professionals and advisors. On the homepage, visitors can learn about the program's advising work, which includes outreach related to small businesses, intertribal relations, and reservation-based economic development programs. Visitors can look over the Policy area, as it contains key documents like the official tribal consultation and coordination policy for the department. A valuable area of the site is the Resources section, which lists online resources from other government agencies, including NOAA, the Census Bureau, and the Patent and Trademark Office. [KMG]
The Administration for Native Americans (ANA) works to promote "self-sufficiency for Native Americans by providing discretionary grant funding for community based projects and training and technical assistance to eligible tribes and native organizations." Operated as an office within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the ANA provides high-quality information on its grants, training programs, and resources. First-time visitors might do well to check out the Featured Resource, which takes a look at various outreach efforts, such as the Native American Veterans "Storytelling for Healing" program. In the ANA Quick Fact area, visitors can learn about the accomplishments of the ANA in recent months and years. Also, the Resources area includes guides, videos, fact sheets, reports, and webinars organized by topic, such as best practices, economic development, project management, and tribal governance. [KMG]
Based within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO) works to protect human health and the environment of federally recognized tribes by supporting implementation of federal environmental laws. The materials on the site are divided into different areas, including Consultation, Indian Policies, Maps & Data, and Tribal Calendar. Visitors will enjoy the Indian Policies area, as it contains detailed links to a range of reports and special documents dating back to 2002. The Maps & Data area is a real gem, as visitors can use spatial tools to locate and learn about the various environmental problem areas and cleanup sites that affect Native Americans who live on reservations around the United States. Finally, the Consultation area contains information on the outreach services provided by the EPA to these different communities. [KMG]
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