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Do you have American Indian ancestry? Many genealogists believe they do and want to
find out for sure. Others know they do but don’t know how to research those ancestors.
Now’s a good time to look for resources: November is National
American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
In 1915, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapaho and president of the American Indian Association,
declared the second Saturday of May as American Indian Day and appealed for recognition
of American Indians as citizens (Indians
were recognized as citizens in 1924).
Later that year, on Dec. 14, Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, arrived
at the White House with 24 state government endorsements for a national day to honor
American Indians. (Here’s
a photo from the Library of Congress.) He’d gathered them riding on horseback
from state to state.
The first National American Indian Heritage Month was in 1990. (More
on national observances here.)
Here are some free FamilyTreeMagazine.com articles to help you trace American Indian
Indian genealogy websites
tips for tracing Cherokee roots
Cherokee who weren’t removed from their lands
Indian online photo collections
indian genealogy books
Family Tree Magazine Podcast: October
2009 episode with expert advice on researching American Indian roots
ShopFamilyTree.com resources include:
Indian Genealogy Guide Digital Download
Historical Atlas of Native Americans
State research guides for Oklahoma, Alaska and other
states where your American Indian ancestors lived.
Some of our favorite websites for American Indian research are:
Lots of free records and articles for tribes across the country.
Archvies and Records Administration: Native American Research: Not many records
are online, but you’ll learn what records the archives has, see finding aids for Bureau
of Indian Affairs records, and find articles to help you plan your research.
You’ll also find indexes to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized
Tribes in Indian Territory, March 4, 1907 (known as the Dawes
Roll) and Applications Submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (the Guion-Miller
of Oklahoma Indian-Pioneer Papers Oral History Collection: Search the index to
this collection by personal name, place name, or subject. Typescripts of interviews
about the settlement of Oklahoma and Indian territories, as well as the condition
and conduct of life there, cover the time period from 1861 to 1936.
USGenWeb project site contains information on researching tribes that were removed
to Indian Territory, located in what’s now Oklahoma.
Historical Society American Indian Archives: The OHS archives have records for
tribes in Indian and Oklahoma territories.
Historical Society has digitized papers and a partial index of correspondence
from William Clark and later agents’ tenure as Superintendent, US Office of Indian
Affairs, Central Superintendency, St. Louis (most of the collection dates from the
early to mid-1800s).