Native American Studies

Shasta belt, from the collection of the National Museum of the American Indian

About this guide:

Welcome to the research guide for Native American Studies. This guide provides search tips and links to research resources for topics related to Native American history and culture. Follow the tabs above to find help, specific tools, and searching techniques.

Paper Writing Assistance

About SBCC’s Writing Center
The SBCC Learning Resource center writing tools online

Need help with your search?

Have a question? Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help. Contact Us


Finding materials online and in the library can require using a variety of different words. It is a good idea to write down as many terms as you can think of before and during your research.

Some terms to use when searching for information about Native Americans include:

    Native Americans
    Indians of North America
    individual tribal names

Print Reference Books

Get some fast background on the Native American tribes in reference books, located behind the reference desk.

  • Encyclopedia of North American Indians – R 970.1 H867e
  • The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes – R 970.1 M251g
  • Statistical Record of Native North Americans – R 970.1 R313s 1995
  • Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country – R 970.1 T575g

Online Reference Books

To access these books from off campus, you will need to log in using your Pipeline username and password.


Use the library catalog to find books about Native Americans, in both print and ebook format. Your search results will include articles as well. Limit to books by choosing the appropriate box from the menu to the left of the results.


Use one of the following databases to find articles from periodicals (newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals) about Native Americans. To access databases from off campus, you will need to log in with your Pipeline username and password.

  • Academic Search Premier Provides abstracts for articles from nearly 13,200 periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) in all subject areas, and full text articles from nearly 8,750 periodicals, including more than 7,550 peer-reviewed journals. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,400 journals. Full text PDF content dates back as far as 1887.
  • History Reference Center Covers all time periods of U.S. and World History. Provides full text from more than 1,620 reference books, encyclopedias and non-fiction books, and cover to cover full text for more than 150 leading history periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals). Includes primary source material such as historical documents, photos, and maps. Also includes biographies of historical figures, and more than 80 hours of historical video.

Primary sources

Primary sources are first-person accounts or direct evidence of the topics or events you are researching. They may include letters, diaries, photographs, autobiographies, records such as birth certificates or land deeds, treaties and other government documents, news footage and eyewitness articles, plays, movies, works of art, speeches, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, architectural plans, and many other kinds of artifacts.

Secondary sources

Secondary sources analyze, summarize, interpret, or comment on primary sources. They are usually created by someone who did not experience an event first-hand. They may include biographies, scholarly journal articles, literary criticism, political analysis, news reports other than first-hand accounts, reference books, and textbooks.

What About Newspapers?

Some sources may be considered primary or secondary, depending on how you use them. For example, a 1969 newspaper article that discusses the moon landing that year could be considered a secondary source. But if you are interested in how NASA was portrayed by the media during the Cold War, the same article could be considered a primary source as an historical artifact. Watch Newspapers – Primary Source? for more information.

Primary Sources in Library Databases

Some of the library databases include primary source materials. To access these resources from off campus, you will need to log in with your Pipeline username and password.

  • History Reference Center when you search for your topic, use the ADVANCED SEARCH and select PUBLICATION TYPE = PRIMARY SOURCE DOCUMENTS. Or you can select the PRIMARY SOURCES tab found in the menu to the left of the list of results after your search.
  • Alexander Street Press Videos Search for “Native American”

Primary Sources on the Internet

You can also find primary sources materials through several free websites:


Finding good websites can be difficult and time-consuming, and it is important to evaluate your sources. Techniques for Evaluating American Indian Websites offers “guidelines useful for evaluating and identifying Web sites that contain accurate information and that are not exploitative of American Indians.”

Below are some recommendations of quality sites about Native American history and culture:

General Websites

  • Federal Websites – Native Americans “This is a guide to federal agency websites that feature information for or about Native Americans. Most of these websites focus on tribal matters.”
  • Indian/Native American Resources From the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Law and Research Library Division.
  • National Native News Native news from Koahnic Broadcast Corporation (KBC) –a nonprofit, Alaska Native governed and operated media center.
  • Native American Heritage Month A collection of exhibits, Images, audio/video and other information on Native American Heritage Month presented by The Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  • Native American Nations: Information on Individual Native Nations A collection of links to pages that have “either been set up by nations themselves or devoted to a particular nation”.
  • Native Languages of the Americas: List of Native American Indian Tribes and Languages Alphabetically organized list of Native American Tribes and Languages with a large list containing links to translations and much more information on each tribe.
  • NativeWeb A comprehensive website containing a resource database containing sub-categories covering food, literature, movies, nations websites, native economy and employment, reference materials and religion.
  • Center for World Indigenous Studies List of links related to indigenous peoples from around the world.

Census Information

U.S. and Tribal Government and Law

Native American Rights

  • American Indian Movement The official website of one of the preeminent, but sometimes controversial, organizations working on issues related to Native rights. Includes official statements, podcasts, and streaming audio news.

Specific Regions and Tribes


  • Native American Cancer Research Partnership “The Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention (NACP) is a collaboration between Northern Arizona University and the Arizona Cancer Center, funded through the National Cancer Institute. The mission is to alleviate the unequal burden of cancer among Native Americans of the Southwest through research, training and community outreach programs in collaboration with the communities they serve.”

Indian Gaming

Museums, Exhibits, and Presentations

(see the Primary Sources tab for more)