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The Vanishing Indian: Removal, Relocation, Reservations and Representation in the 19th century Resources and Links

Theme: The Peopling of America: Migration and Immigration
Topic: “The Vanishing Indian”: Removal, Relocation. Reservations and Representation in the 19th Century
Date: January 2005

Annotated Bibliography: Secondary Sources | On 19th Century Native American History | On Approaching Images

Annotated Bibliography: Primary Sources
| On Edward Curtis

Websites and Web Resources: General | Removal |
Reservations/Plains Wars/Dawes Act | Painting and Photography/ Museum Exhibitions

Other: Videos

Resources and Links compiled and annotated by Catherine Corman, Ph.D. ( and SALEM in History staff.

Annotated Bibliography

Seconday Sources

On 19th Century Native American History

Adams, David Wallace. Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1995.

Comprehensive account of the federal policies and social beliefs that fueled and undergirded Indian boarding schools as well as a close and vivid look at daily life for the children who lived and learned in such schools.

Albers, Patricia and Beatrice Medicine, eds. The Hidden Half: Studies of Plains Indian Women. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1983.

Important book; makes the role of women central.

Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. New York: Holt, Reinhardt and Winston, 1971.

Originally publishes in 1971 and still in print. This book changed the way Americans thought about American Indians and the history of US government/Native American relations. Focuses on the period 1860-1890 and describes, in detail, the "opening of the west" from a Native American perspective. Traces/ lays out the systematic violence toward and destruction of American Indians during the last half of the 19th century by US government. Uses council records, autobiographies and firsthand accounts to give voice to Native Americans.

Debo, Angie. And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984, c1940.

Very early study of Five Civilized Tribes with a focus on the inhumanity and injustice of the U.S. government in its dealings with and decisions about the subjects of Debo's study. Published in 1940, it was controversial in its day.

Deloria, Philip J. and Neal Salisbury, eds. A Companion to American Indian History. Malden, Mass. and Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2002.

25 original essays aimed at students, scholars and the general reader. Offers a comprehensive look at the sweep of topics and issues in American Indian history, scholarship and research.

Deloria, Philip J. Playing Indian. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

Explores ways in which (from the American Revolution to the late 20th century) non-Indian Americans have appropriated "Indian-ness" to support or help develop national, personal and modem identities. Draws on rich sources from material relating to the Boston Tea Party to "Indian" costumes used at children's summer camps.

Drinnon, Richard. Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-hating and Empire-building. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997, c1980.

A sweeping and gripping look at the history and look of Indian-hating in America from the colonial era through the U.S.'s actions in Southeast Asia in the 20th century.

Foreman, Grant. The Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989, c1934.

Early and classic look at the American Indians of the Southeast and their experiences/lives 1830-1860.

Fowler, Loretta and Kathleen J. Bragdon. The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Great Plains. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Valuable resource for students and teachers. Wonderful overview of a vast complex region and people. Moves beyond stereotypes and visions of a monolithic "Plains" culture. Offers a historical overview, surveys key scholarly questions in field, and includes an excellent annotated bibliography and list of resources.

Green, Michael D. The Politics of Indian Removal: Creek Government and Society in Crisis. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1982.

Focuses on the period after the war of 1812.

Greenwald, Emily. Reconfiguring the Reservation: The Nez Perces, Jicarilla Apaches, and the Dawes Act. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2002.

Explores the agency and resistance of the Nez Perces and Jicarilla Apaches to the General Allotment Act of 1877 (the Dawes Act). Argues that while the Dawes Act succeeded in imposing mathematically structured notions of land ownership, it was unsuccessful as an assimilation tool among these groups due to the strategies and goals that undergirded these Native Americans' decisions about land allotment selection.

Harmon, Alexandra. Indians in the Making: Ethnic Relations and Indian Identities around Puget Sound. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Comprehensive look at the history of interaction between Puget Sound area Indians and the settlers/ settler descendants from the 1820s to the 1970s. Argues and explores how both Indian and non-Indian identities changed as the nature of interactions changed. Adds to our understanding of ethnic and racial identity in the United States.

Hoxie, Frederick E. A Final Promise: The Campaign to Civilize the Indians, 1880-1920. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984. (New edition in 2001)

Masterful and important. Clearly and eloquently explores the social, political and cultural forces, motivations, and implications of efforts to resolve the "Indian question" through assimilation in the forty years surrounding the turn of the 20th century.

Lamar, Howard R., ed. The New Encyclopedia of the American West. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998.

Superb reference work compiled by a leading scholar of the West. Includes nearly 2,500 entries on an extraordinary number of topics. Includes over 600 illustrations and maps.

Lazarus, Edward. Black Hills, White Justice: The Sioux Nation Versus the United States 1775 to the Present. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.

Explores and traces the legal relationship between the Sioux Nation and the U.S. Federal government.

Limerick, Patricia Nelson. The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1987.

Landmark book of the "New Western History" challenging the mythical narrative of a heroic west and heroic western history. Looks at the topic from 19th century to late 20th. Argues that the history of the American West is one of conquest and its consequences on the land, the diverse groups of people who inhabit the west and the nation as a whole. Argues that the American west is a place not merely an idea, and highlights the role that economics and federal policy have had in shaping the history of the American west.

Merrell, James H. The Indians' New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1989.

Examines of the lives of the Catawbas of the southeastern United States from prehistoric times to the 19th century in light of their adaptations in the face of outsiders. Asserts that the Catawbas used both old strategies and new when faced with the intrusion of Europeans and European culture in their region. Catawbas devised creative responses to Europeans, which resulted in the transformation rather than the destruction of native life.

McLoughlin, William O. Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.

Traces and documents Cherokee acculturation between 1794 and 1833.

Nichols, Roger L. American Indians in U.S. History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003.

A wonderfully accessible survey of American Indian history that places Indian voices and points of view at the center. Demonstrates that despite changes and challenges, Indians and Indian culture has not disappeared.

Rogin, Michael Paul. Fathers and Children: Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975.

Psychohistorical look at Jackson's treatment of and ideas about American Indians.

Rydell, Robert W. All the World's a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876-1916. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Argues that the expositions went beyond simply reflecting American culture. Instead, the expositions were intended to shape the culture, especially the masses. Rydell discusses how the world's fairs "reflected the efforts by America's intellectual, political, and business leaders to establish a consensus about their priorities and their vision of progress as racial dominance and economic growth."

Shoemaker, Nancy. "How Indians Got to Be Red," American Historical Review (1997) 102:625-644.

Examines the origins of the idea of race among American Indians in the 18th century. Traces Indian uses of "red" as a descriptor and marker of "self” in relation to "other" in dealing with "whites." Important insights for general understanding of race/identity formation.

Utely, Robert M. The Indian Frontier, 1846-1890. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984.

Classic and important synthesis of Native-white relations in the trans-Mississippi West during the second half of the 19th century. Sees Native American hostility as a result of the reservation system and government policies. A newer 2003 edition takes into account more recent scholarship in the field.

Van Kirk. Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870. Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986, c 1980.

Asserts and explores the importance of kinship and marriage in the development and success of the fur trade in Canada.

Wallace, Anthony F .C. The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993.

A well-written and accessible close look at the Indian Removal Act of 1830, and the experience of the American Indians in the southeast with an emphasis on Andrew Jackson's role in the policies and politics that made removal into law. Includes a limited amount of primary source material.

Welch, James and Peter Stekler. Killing Custer: The Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians. New York: Norton & Company, 1994.

Reconstructs the Little Bighorn campaign from a Native American perspective. Makes use of oral testimony and archeological evidence.

West, Elliott. The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1998.

A classic in the Western history, this book asserts that the conflict between Native Americans and white settlers was not about ideology and lifestyle, but rather about competition for scarce resources. Explores the dramatic consequences of the clash and contests between Native Americans and white Americans on the plains in the wake of the discovery of gold in the Rocky Mountains.

White, Richard. The Roots of Dependency: Subsistence, Environment, and Social Change among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.

Excellent analysis of Indian dependency in the southwest.

-------. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

A masterful and classic work. Explores and describes the interactions between and cultural intermingling of the Indians, French and English in the Great Lakes region in the colonial era and the early republic (the early years of these groups' contact). This book works to overturn notions of Indian cultural decline as inevitable by examining the presence a commonly-created, mutually understandable world.

On Approaching Images

Berkhofer, Robert F., Jr., The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present. New York: Vintage Books, c1978.

A classic in the field. Documents the stereotypes that Europeans and white Americans have created about American Indians. Highlights the self-serving nature of these images/stereotypes regardless of their form.

Berlo, Janet Catherine ed. The Early Years of Native American Art History. Seattle: University of Washington Press; Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1992.

A series of essays that examines the development of Native American art history as a discipline. Highlights the roles and impact of museum curators, early anthropologists, dealers and collectors and the layers of appropriation, re-appropriation and misunderstanding in their interactions.

Berlo, Janet Catherine and Ruth B. Phillips, eds. Native North American Art. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Explores indigenous arts of the US and Canada from pre-Columbian times to the late 20th century. Stresses the extraordinary continuity (iconographic and conceptual) across the centuries and across the region.

Conn, Steven. History's Shadow: Native Americans and Historical Consciousness in the Nineteenth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Examines the shape and impact of 19th century Americans' intellectual engagement with questions about Native Americans, their history, and their place in America. Argues that Native Americans had a profound impact on Americans' cultural imagination, as well as on an understanding of history itself. Chapter 2 "Images of History: Indians in American Art" takes up issues of visual culture directly.

Green, Rayna. "The Pocahontas Perplex: The Image of Indian Women in American Culture" Massachusetts Review (1975) 698-714.

Looks at the changing image of the Indian woman in American culture. Links shifting image to shifting male needs.

Lewis, G. Malcolm, ed. Cartographic Encounters: Perspectives on Native American Mapmaking and Map Use. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Essays examine a wide range of topics charting Native American (moving beyond simply North America) map and map making from both the pre and post-contact periods.

Novak, Barbara. Nature and Culture: American Landscape Painting, 1825-1875. New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press, c1980.

Places landscape painting (in its heyday) squarely at the center of the American belief in the preeminence of nature as moral force, and marker of grace in the young republic. Landscape painting emerges here as a product of a society that valued the ideal of nature, and saw in nature the potential iconography of the new nation.

Penney, David W. Native Arts of North America, tr. by Peter Snowdon. Paris: Terrail, c1998.

Phillips, Ruth B. Trading Identities: The Souvenir in Native North American Art from the Northeast, 1799-1900. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, and Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1998.

Interdisciplinary examination of the nature and development of Native North American souvenir production in the northeast during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Challenges those who would dismiss souvenir art as inauthentic or unimportant Phillips takes seriously the cultural and historical significance of art objects created and marketed for sale to travelers and tourists, especially in light of the economic and social marginalization of many American Indians.

Prown, Jules David. "Mind in Matter: An Introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method" in Material Life in America, 1600-1860, Robert Blair St. George, ed. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1988, 17-38.

Sandweiss, Martha A. Print the Legend: Photography and the American West. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

Recent and award-winning. Simultaneously traces the growth and development of the American West, and the development of American photography - both came of age together. Focuses on 1) the ways in which photographs worked to create American knowledge about the West, and 2) the ways in which American ideas about the West shaped photographers' approaches to their subjects. Emphasizes the centrality of a critical and skeptical analysis of photographic representations/evidence.

Warhus, Mark. Another America: Native American Maps and the History of Our Land. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.

Brings to light the rich history of Native American ways of mapping the land, recording trade routes, locating land rights, claiming territorial rights and explaining treaties by way of a close look at many all-but-forgotten maps made by American Indians. Richly illustrated.

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Primary Sources

Calloway, Colin G., ed. Our Hearts Fell to the Ground: Plains Indian Views of How the West Was Lost. Boston and New York: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1996.

Accessible and valuable collection of text sources from Indian perspective. With useful introduction to topic and period.

Deloria, Vine, Jr. Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. New York: Avon, 1970, cl969.

In this important work, Deloria (Sioux), a proponent of Indian nationalism, aims to destroy myths about Native Americans and enumerates the injustices done to American Indians over centuries. Challenges white Americans to take responsibility for their (active or passive) role in the subjugation, exploitation and stereotyping of American Indians. Explores race relations, federal bureaucracies, Christian churches, and social scientists-among others.

Neihardt, John ed. Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of A Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.

Black Elk dictated his life story to Neihardt in the opening years of the 20th century. Book originally published in 1932. Black Elk lived through and witnessed many of the major events of the Plains Indian Wars that resulted from U.S. expansion in the last half of the 19th century including the Battle of Little Bighorn, the Ghost Dance, and Wounded Knee. This source is wonderfully complex and also contested because of the many layers of translation/editing in its creation.

Perdue, Theda and Michael D. Green. The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1995.

A rich collection of documents and well-written accompanying narratives which challenge any simple understanding of the causes and implications of the Cherokee Removal. Documents push beyond merely constitutional issues, and bring to light such realities as whites who did not want to remove the Cherokee and Cherokee who supported removal.

Jackson, Donald, ed. Black Hawk: An Autobiography. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1990, c 1964.

Originally published in 1833. This autobiography of a well-known Sank leader offers valuable insight into the impact of Midwestern expansion on Native Americans. Black Hawk resisted removal from his homeland in Illinois in 1832 and as a result saw his people killed and his land taken.

Jackson, Helen Hunt. A Century of Dishonor: A Sketch of the United States Government's Dealings with Some of the Indian Tribes. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995, c l885.

Early book to condemn and challenge U.S. government policy of broken Indian treaties and injustice toward American Indians.

Kappler, Charles, ed. Indian Treaties, 1773-1883. Mattituck, NY: Amereon House, 1972.

Indispensable compilation of federal treaties.

Kroeber, Theodora. Ishi: Last of His Tribe. New York: Bantam, 1989, c1964.

Story of lshi, considered the last of his tribe, (Yahi), a California tribe, living in concealment in the early 20th century, after having been reduced in numbers over the decades of western settlement.

McLuhan, T.C. Touch the Earth: A Self Portrait of Indian Existence. BBS Publishing, 1992.

Includes quotes from Native Americans about Indian Removal.

Nabokov, Peter and Robert Easton. Native American Architecture. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Pres, 1989.

Book is collaboration between an anthropologist and an architect and offers a superb and richly detailed look at the diversity of North American Indian architecture in nine regional areas.

Prucha, Francis Paul, S.J. American Indian Treaties: The History of a Political Anomaly. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1994.

Details federal treaties. An excellent resource.

Welch, James. Fools Crow. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.

Work of fiction. Pikuni Indians of Montana must decide between fighting a futile war and accepting a humiliating surrender as encroaching whites threaten their existence.

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On Edward Curtis

Davis, Barbara. Edward S. Curtis: The Life and Times of a Shadow Catcher. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1985.

Highly-illustrated biography of Curtis with information on his many-year-long project to photograph Native Americas, his fund-raising schemes and his volatile personal life.

Lyman, Christopher M. The Vanishing Race and Other Illusions: Photographs of Indians by Edward S. Curtis. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982.

Critiques Curtis' pictorialist, romantic, idealized images of Native peoples on the grounds that they obscured the drearier and more problematic real-life experience of Native Americans in America at the time he was photographing them. Also criticizes Curtis for removing and excluding elements of modern culture that appeared in the lives of his subjects.

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Web sites and Web Resources


Images of the Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains

Wonderful resource. A cooperative effort of a number of small college libraries and museums in Montana to make available important primary source material on the Plains Indian cultures. Database is searchable by tribe, year, location, and photographer. Some contextual information included. Images generally from 1870s-1940s.

Immigration… Native Americans
American Memory, Library of Congress

Part of the online presentation "Immigration: The Changing Face of America" which aims to link educators with sources from the Library of Congress' online collections as they teach about the theme of immigration/migration. Moving chronologically through time, this site traces the history of Native Americans and their interactions with other Americans and the US government from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Narrative includes hyperlinks that take visitors to a wide and engaging range of source material including maps, political speeches, photographs, government reports, letters, laws, and films. A rich tool for engaging students with primary sources. Majority of material relates to 19th and early 20th centuries.

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties

A full-text digital version of the critically important print source Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties by Charles J. Kappler, a historically significant, seven volume compilation containing U.S. treaties, laws and executive orders pertaining to Native American Indian tribes. The volumes cover U.S. Government treaties with Native Americans from 1778-1883 (Volume II) and U.S. laws and executive orders concerning Native Americans from 1871-1970 (Volumes I, III-VII). Volume II (treaties 1778-1883) can be searched by YEAR.

Indian Land Cessions in the U.S., 1784-1894
American Memory, Library of Congress

While the site does not include the actual text of treaties, it offers a compilation list of treaties with Indian tribes which may be browsed by date, tribe, or state/territory. Includes a chronological chart of treaties from 1784 to 1894. Land in question is cross-referenced with 67 maps so site visitors can see the parcel(s) included in each treaty. Provides the treaty or act of Congress date, where or how concluded, the legal reference, the tribe, a description of the cession or reservation, whether the treaty was ratified, and historical data and remarks.

National Museum of the American Indian

Museum is the newest addition to the Smithsonian Institution, which opened in 2004. This is a beautiful site with teacher resources and curriculum that can be downloaded. Also includes links to other Native American websites.

New Perspectives on The West
Ken Burns and PBS

This is the website accompanying Ken Burns' 1996 PBS documentary The West. Includes documentary materials, essays, and teaching resources for use with the site, the film, and the topics they explore-including much about Native American history and culture. Here you will find detailed timelines, biographies and interactive maps. Under "Lesson Plans" see especially "The Nez-Perce and the Dawes Act," and "Images of the West.”

Removal/Removal Period

The Battle of Honey Springs: The Civil War Comes to Indian Territory
Teaching With Historic Places Lesson Plans

In this primary source-based lesson, tied to an historic place (Honey Spring National Battlefield), students learn how the Civil War created fierce conflicts among American Indian nations who had been moved across the Mississippi River.

The Cherokee Nation: Official Site

Official site of the Cherokee nation. The "Culture" section of site includes a range of primary documents such as the text of treaties, documents written and signed by Cherokees and the account of a soldier during the Trail of Tears. Here you will also find interviews, published recollections from historic newspapers, council meeting notes from 1829, a letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson (opposed to removal) and a summary history of the Cherokees from prehistory to 2001. See also the Cherokee Heritage Center website:

The Cherokee Trail of Tears 1838-1839

Site offers a range of helpful information about the Trail of Tears including a map of the trail, a concise account of how the Trail of Tears came to be (and the key figures involved), and a timeline for 1838-39. Links to other sites.

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831)

Full text transcription of Chief Justice John Marshall's decision in this case. Rejects argument that Cherokee constitute a foreign nation. Instead determines them to be "domestic dependent nations." Decision strikes down idea that Cherokee can bring action in a U.S. court and dismisses Cherokee call for an injunction against state of Georgia. From website of Mt. Holyoke professor.

Cherokee Indians Materials and Links

A set of materials and links, created and chosen by scholars at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia. Include links to historic documents and biographical information as well as maps, museums, and contemporary Cherokee sites.

Cherokee Letter Protesting the Treaty of New Etocha (1836)

This letter from Chief John Ross, "To the Senate and House for Representatives" protests the 1835 treaty in which the Cherokee ceded all lands east of the Mississippi river in return for western lands and other considerations. Ross claims that treaty was not agreed upon in acceptable manner. This letter can be found among other documents available in the "Indian Removal" section of PBS's Africans in America website which also includes a wonderful narrative history of Removal. See

Chocktaw Nation of Oklahoma (official homepage)

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians: Official Homepage

Georgia Historic Newspapers (includes Cherokee Phoenix)
Digital Library of Georgia
(from here scroll down and select "Georgia Historic Newspapers")

Part of the Digital Library of Georgia's collection of historic newspapers. Once into the Historic Newspapers site, visitors can enter keyword "Phoenix" in the search box and have access to digital versions of the Cherokee Phoenix, a newspaper published by the Cherokee in English and Cherokee using the roman alphabet. The collection begins with Vol.l No.1 from 1828. No transcriptions are provided.

President Andrew Jackson's Message to Congress "On Indian Removal" (1830)
Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents

Includes original document, transcription and background information.

The Removal Act (1830)

Full text transcription of Indian Removal Act. From website of Mt. Holyoke professor.

Southeastern Native American Documents Collection, 1730-1842
Digital Library of Georgia
(from here scroll down and select "Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842")

This University of Georgia initiative contains 2,000 documents and images (from the collections of a range of libraries, museums and archives) related to the Native American population of the Southeastern United States. Includes letters, legal proceedings, military orders, journals of frontier agents, written copies of oral presentations from Native and white leaders, financial records and archeological images. Search by Keyword or phrase. Browse option also available with materials arranged by source type (e.g. "letters"). Site includes a general historical overview and a rich bibliography of selected readings.

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
National Park Service

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward. Today the trail encompasses about 2,200 miles of land and water routes, and traverses portions of nine states. In the "In Depth" and "Plan Your Visits" sections of this site, you will find background information about the Trail of Tears, information about visiting the trail, a bibliography of related books, and links to a few select associated groups. See "Certified Sites" for a listing, and links to numerous historic properties, trail segments and interpretive centers along the Trail. The site offers a sophisticated GIS map of the Historic Trail with multiple layers of information. This trail was created in partnership with the Trail of Tears Association, a national organization dedicated to the preservation, public awareness, and appreciation of the Trail of Tears.

Worcester v. Georgia (1832)

Offers link to full text of the decision by Chief Justice John Marshall which dismissed Georgia's claim to state sovereignty over Indians and their missionaries, and reasserted the federal government's exclusive authority over Indian tribes.

The Trail of Tears: The Forced Relocation of the Cherokee Nation
Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans

Using a range of primary sources, readings, historic locations and maps this lesson builds students' understanding of the factors that contributed both to the forced removal of the Cherokees off their homelands and to painful divisions within the tribe.

Reservations/Plains Wars/Dawes Act

American Indian Boarding Schools

Narrative material presented on these sites is highly charged in its criticism of the boarding school system, but is well-documented and offer an impressive number of high-quality links to material (primary and secondary) related to boarding schools.

Capt. Richard C. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans

"Kill the Indian, and Save the Man": Capt. Richard C. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans.

Dawes Act (1887)
Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents

Includes original document, transcription and background information. Dawes Act established policy of allotting land to American Indians.

Federal Education Policy and Off-Reservation Schools, 1870-1933

From the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University. A discussion of federal education policy toward Native Americans and the experiences of Native Americans who attended off-reservation boarding schools.

Ft. Laramie National Historic Site
National Park Service

Website offers brief overview of events that took place at this site in 19th century.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
National Park Service

Website offers a brief overview of the events that took place at this site in 1876. Includes a few photographic images of the site as it looks now. Includes links.

Naming the Indians by Frank Terry, Superintendent of U.S. Boarding Schools for Crow Indians in Montana

Essay written in 1897 by Frank Terry, Superintendent of U.S. Boarding Schools for Crow Indians in Montana. Describes how and why American Indian students were given new names.

Photographs from Indian Boarding Schools

Links to over 50 photographs from the collections of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
National Park Service

Homepage offers background information about site and events there. See "In Depth" portion of site for detailed history and biographies of those involved in the events leading up to and at Sand Creek.

Teacher Lesson Plan - Indian Boarding Schools: Civilizing the Native Spirit
The Learning Page, Library of Congress

Rich lesson drawing on a wide variety of primary sources and source types (including letters, photographs, reports and interviews) from the American Memory Collections. Includes links to additional online resources and a bibliography of books for teachers and students.

Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Maps of Indian Territory, the Dawes Act, and Will Rodgers' Enrollment Application
Digital Classroom, National Archives and Records Administration

This comprehensive, primary source-based lesson plan addresses the causes and outcomes of the Dawes Act. It includes a rich background essay, detailed teaching activities and instructions, high quality digital sources and source analysis worksheets. Lesson tied to curriculum standards. Based on the rich collection of documents pertaining to Native American/US govt. relations held in the National Archives. (Note: because much Native American history has been tied to land cessions and challenges over land, the federal government records offer a wealth of resources for research and teaching).

Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Sioux Treaty of 1868
Digital Classroom, National Archives and Records Administration

This comprehensive, primary source-based lesson plan looks closely at the promises and failures of the treaty made between the US govt. and the Sioux regarding ownership of the Black Hills. Includes a rich background essay, detailed teaching activities and instructions, high quality digital sources (treaties, letters, select photographs---including some from Custer's 1874 expedition) and source analysis worksheets. Lesson tied to curriculum standards. Based on the collections of documents pertaining to Native American/US govt. relations held in the National Archives. (Note: because much Native American history has been tied to land cessions and challenges over land, the federal government records offer a wealth of resources for research and teaching)

The Wounded Knee Massacre
Bowling Green State University

Part of a project including professors and students, this site (and its related links) offer an introduction to the events of December 29, 1890 and the historical context in which they occurred.. Includes primary sources, and links to other Wounded Knee web sites (including the lyrics to Buffy Sainte-Marie's Ballad "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" and Dee Brown's book by the same name).

Painting and Photography/ Museum Exhibitions

Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians

Site to accompany the PBS American Masters film about Curtis. Includes essay and timeline as well as a section that opens up dialogue about some of the most controversial elements of Curtis' work including: photographing sacred ceremonies, his use of "costumes" on subjects, and the historical value of the photographs as records of Native American life at the time they were made.

Edward S. Curtis Frontier Photographer
Smithsonian Institution

A Smithsonian Institution Libraries Exhibition of Curtis' work. Site includes essays on Curtis' personal and professional life, his photography (techniques, goals) and his world.

Edward S. Curtis' The North American Indian: Photographic Images
Northwestern University Library
American Memory, Library of Congress

This collection offers access to all of the published photogravure images (including over 1500 illustrations bound in text volumes) created by Edward S. Curtis for his important and controversial 20-volume work The North American Indian. Curtis set out to document "the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners", and in over 2000 photogravure plates and accompanying narrative he portrayed the lifeways and customs of over eighty Indian tribes. In the process he created images that have continued (often problematically) to shape images of American Indians in popular culture. This site offers unparalleled access to all of Curtis' images. Images can be downloaded as can a series of essays titled "Curtis in Context" which present views on Curtis in the context of both his contemporaries and today. Essays include a look at "The Myth of the Vanishing Race." Be sure to read the statement on "Sensitive Images and Text" before using images with students.

George Catlin and His Indian Gallery
National Gallery of Art Smithsonian Institution

Website companion to the exhibition of the same name, showcasing artwork from Catlin's original "Indian Gallery," one of the most important collections of the National Gallery of Art. See "Virtual Exhibition" to explore the exhibit on line. The award-winning educational section of this site -- "Catlin Classsroom" ( -- features a series of activities and educational experiences focused around "tak[ing] a virtual journey to meet American Indians of the 1830s with artist, ethnologist, and showman, George Catlin." The lessons bring together paintings, historical documents and commentary from contemporary experts to help students explore "the intersection of two cultures, both in Catlin's time and today." Offers a Teachers guide and lesson plans.

"Making Sense of Documentary Photography"
History Matters

This interactive essay by historian James Curtis offers students and teachers an in-depth overview of the advantage and challenges of using documentary photographs as historical sources. Offers strategies for and models photo analysis.

Images of Indians of North America – Online Catalog
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

This online catalog can be searched (use "Indians of North America") for access to hundreds of images of native peoples in the Prints and Photographs Division's collection. Note, however, the images available online represent only a small fraction of the more than 17,000 items available in the collection.

Images of Native Americans
Bancroft Library

Digital companion to exhibit of rare books, photographs, illustrations and other archival and manuscript material at the Bancroft Library - one of the world's most important repositories of material relating to the American West. Includes illustrations from rare books, pamphlets, pulp magazines, newspaper, ephemera, and photographs. Website includes a timeline. The site's section on "Portrayals of Native Americans" is divided into four groups: "Early Ethnography," "Mass Market Appeal," "Foreign Views," and "Color Plate Books."

Inspiring Visions: Artists' Views of the American West
Amon Carter Museum

This "Inspiring Visions" site offers a rich collection of activities and classroom ideas based on 20 images produced by major figures in American art and history from the 1840s through the present. Images in the "Early Visions/New Encounters, 1840s-1850s, and "Expansion and Development, 1950s-1910s" address 19th century images of Native Americans. The Amon Carter Museum collects, exhibits and preserves American art. Many exhibitions touch on topics related to the American West.

The Master Prints of Edward S. Curtis: Portraits of Native America
The Peabody Essex Museum

This microsite offers an overview of the exhibition at the PEM from November 2001 through March 2002. Site includes brief historical and biographical information about the images and Curtis, but does not display all images in exhibition. Site includes a video clip of a contemporary Lakota man speaking about the positive impact Curtis' images had on him. Additional Curtis photographs in the PEM collection can be viewed by searching under "Curtis" in the PEM Artscape database (see

Minnesota Historical Society Visual Resources Database (search "Seth Eastman")

Holdings include a number of Seth Eastman images (search "Seth Eastman") of Native Americans (Dakota) in the Upper Midwest during the first half of the 19th century.

Seth Eastman: Painting the Dakota

Website accompanying and information about 2002 PBS documentary exploring Eastman's life, paintings and the issue of documenting a culture that is not your own. Eastman painted scenes of Dakota life while stationed with the army in Minnesota in the early 19th century. Site includes images, essays and links to other resources.

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Makepeace, Anne. Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians. VHS video, co produced by Anne Makepeace and Thirteen/WNE for American Masters, 2000. Available from Bullfrog Films.

Educational film. Tells story of Curtis’ life and his changing views of the people he set out to document. Includes voices of and discussions with the descendents of many Curtis subjects who are now using the photographs for cultural preservation. These people discuss the meaning of Curtis’ images to Native people and Americans today.


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