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Native American Tribal Histories

Series 1-4, 1813-1880

Essential 19th-century primary source documents on dozens of Native tribes
Learn what makes this product unique
  • The complete records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendents
  • The most detailed documents available about the encounters between Indigenous people and American Territorial officials
  • A must-have digital resource for scholars of Native American history, culture, and law

Through much of the 19th century, the education, land rights, treaty negotiations and other affairs of Native American tribes were overseen by a cadre of superintendents from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). BIA superintendents scrupulously recorded their interactions with Native American tribes, leaving behind an astoundingly detailed archive that is captured here in full. It contains all the manuscript letters and reports that the superintendents sent to Washington, D.C., as well as the responses and instructions received from the nation’s capital.

These primary source documents cover not only encounters between Indigenous people and the U.S. government, but also accounts of Native American cultures during a time when disease and forced relocation were transforming their lives. Now, these rare materials are available for the first time in a readily accessible digital collection, which also contains detailed historical background notes created by the curators of the National Archives. Native American Tribal Histories, 1813-1880, is a powerful new resource for anyone interested in the past, present and future of Native America.

A vivid picture of a tumultuous era
As U.S. settlers pushed farther west, Native Americans were confined to increasingly small parcels of land which restricted their autonomy, impacted cultures and traditions, and led to numerous conflicts. The BIA superintendents and agents tasked with managing tribal affairs covered these issues through a series of handwritten reports and records. In addition, the documents in Native American Tribal Histories cover the history of Indian boarding schools, including attendance and curricula; the enforcement of treaties and federal laws; forced relocations and “Indian removal” policies; goods, supplies, medical care and payments provided to tribes; military conflicts; trading; and much more. Together, these primary source documents paint a vivid picture of the changes impacting Native Americans as a whole, as well as how these broader changes affected individual tribes and people.

Indigenous history from around the country
Native American Tribal Histories, 1813-1880, is sourced from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Field Office and Central Office Records at the American National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). It includes documents related to dozens of Native tribes from every region of the contiguous United States, including Apache, Arapaho, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Chippewa, Choctaw, Creek, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Klamath, Lummi, Mandan, Mojave, Navajo, Nez Perce, Osage, Potawatomi, Pueblo, Seminole, Sioux, Ute and numerous others. Additionally, a customized user interface ensures that students and scholars are able to easily navigate, browse and filter documents by territory, date, tribe, topic, document type and more.

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A valuable resource for researchers seeking firsthand reports in U.S. political and military history.
Bentley Clark in Library Journal e-review (April 2024)
Areas of Study
This product supports the following subjects
American Studies
Native American Studies
US History
War & Conflict
Title List
Reviews & Accolades
Notable Titles
Chronological Segments
Series List
Series 1 
BIA Superintendencies: Date Range
Arkansas Superintendency 1819-1834
Central Superintendency 1813-1878 
Florida Superintendency 1824-1853
Iowa Superintendency 1838-1849
Michigan Superintendency 1814-1851
Northern Superintendency 1851-1876
St. Louis Superintendency 1824-1851
Western and Southern Superintendencies 1832-1870
Series 2 
BIA Superintendencies: Date Range
Arizona Superintendency 1863-1873
Central Superintendency 1813-1878 
Michigan Superintendency 1814-1851
Minnesota Superintendency 1849-1856
New Mexico Superintendency 1814-1880
Northern Superintendency 1851-1876
Utah Superintendency 1853-1870
Wisconsin Superintendencys 1836-1848
 Green Bay Subagency1850
Series 3 
BIA Superintendencies: Date Range
California Superintendency 1849-1880
Central Superintendency 1813-1878 
Dakota Superintendency 1861-1878
Wyoming Superintendency 1861-1878
Michigan Superintendency 1814-1851
Nevada Superintendency 1869-1870
New Mexico Superintendency 1814-1880
Oregon Superintendency 1848-1873
Series 4 
BIA Superintendencies: Date Range
California Superintendency 1849-1880
Central Superintendency 1813-1878 
Colorado Superintendency 1861-1880
Idaho Superintendency 1863-1870
Montana Superintendency 1867-1873
Oregon Superintendency 1848-1873
Washington Superintendency 1853-1874
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