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Format: Guide to the Microfilm Edition of Smithsonian Publications Relating to the North American Indian. Free with collection.
Media: 42 reels of 35mm microfilm
Coverage Dates: 1897-1971

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The tribal cultures, history, and heritage of Native Americans are of great interest today. Yet primary sources for exploring these topics have been meager and widely scattered.

This significant microfilm collection brings together essential research resources for the study of both North and South American Indians. Libraries that serve a Native American population and institutions supporting research in American history, anthropology, or Native American studies will discover material on the prehistory, language, society, and culture of many extinct tribal groups.

The collection is divided into two sections:


  • Bulletins (V. 1-200, 1887-1971): This segment contains articles, memoirs, and monographs for probing such subjects as language, native arts and industries, institutions and organizations, myths and beliefs, enthnobotany, ethnogeography, physical anthropology, and archaeology
  • Annual Reports (V. 1-48, 1879/1880-1930/1931): The first 47 reports include administrative reports, ethnological papers, and monographs covering all phases of aboriginal life plus numerous archaeological surveys. The 48th report includes an index to all preceding reports. Many of these valuable publications are now out of print.

While the bulk of material in this collection focuses on the history of Indian tribes within the United States, there is substantive information on the Indian tribes of Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, Canada, Southern Yucatan, and Northern Honduras. Many of the bulletins and reports also contain line drawings and photographic illustrations, and an additional feature of the collection is a complete series of handbooks on South American Indians.

The collection reproduces an important series of documents of the United States Bureau of American Ethnology under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.


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