Researching Native American History in New York
by Tierney Gleason, Reference and Digital Humanities Librarian
In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, we wanted to share a selection of resources available through Fordham’s libraries and beyond covering Native American history in New York state. Whether you are interested in reading historical overviews, exploring digital maps, or examining primary sources with a critical eye, the library offers many entry points to begin engaging with Native American history.
Language and Terminology
Selecting keywords for research in Native American history depends on many factors including when a document or book was published, biases from individual or institutional authors, or the intended audience for a particular item. For broad searches, terms such as “Indian,” “indigenous,” or “Native American” along with “New York” will generate varying results. A more targeted search strategy would be to consult the background information found in encyclopedias to learn the names of New York tribes, as well as key people, treaties, and/or historical events to use as search terms in the library catalog and databases.
The Library Catalog is the gateway to finding books available at Fordham Libraries in both print and electronic formats. Fordham offers access to a range of books on Native American issues including historical monographs, biographies, literature, archeological findings, environmental studies, government documents, and primary source materials within books such as treaties, images, oral histories, and more.
Databases enable searching across multiple periodicals to find articles on a topic. To find scholarly articles, try searching by keyword in databases like America: History & Life or AnthroSource. For community news and magazines, try searching in Ethnic NewsWatch to find publications with current news, events, and discussions.
If you have a citation for an article, use our Finding Full Text Journals & Periodicals video tutorial to learn how to locate specific articles in the Fordham system.
Digital Collections & Tools
- Curious about federal laws and Supreme Court cases involving tribal nations? Digital collections of government documents can provide these primary sources. Consult ProQuest Legislative Insight to look up legislation passed by Congress and Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 to examine Supreme Court case information.
- The National Archives collaborated with the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, to create the Indigenous Digital Archive Treaties Explorer. This resource provides online access to 374 Ratified Indian Treaties and supporting documents. Search the treaties by cession number, tribe, and/or place. The Resources section offers teaching tools, recommended books, and additional web resources.
- This interactive map developed by a Canadian nonprofit Native Land Digital visualizes indigenous lands before colonization. View the map by territory, language, or treaty. Use the Resources tab to lookup a location to create a Territory Acknowledgement and connect with teaching guides, lists, and digital tools.
- The Lenape Talking Dictionary is a free, online database developed by the Lenape Language Preservation Project. The database enables searching in English or Lenape and features audio pronunciations. This resource provides additional grammar tools and stories that enable users to follow along in English or Lenape.
Questions? Looking for More?
This post represents only a selection of resources available for research. There is always more at the library! Please get in touch if you have any questions. The resources highlighted here (and more) are located on the Native American History page of the New York – Researching guide.