Native Americans: a bibliography of resources in the Bentley Historical Library

This bibliography endeavors to list all manuscript collections in the Bentley Historical Library reflecting the history and culture of Native Americans in Michigan. The difficulty in adequately documenting Native Americans lies in the fact that the history of Native Americans is transmitted through artifacts and through an oral tradition intimately bound with a living culture rather than in the letters, diaries and other written documents that we associate with other groups and which are routinely collected by archival agencies like the Bentley.

Much of the material is small and scattered and difficult to use for systematic research, but we hope that when used in conjunction with other materials in this and other repositories and with non-archival materials, these items may illuminate the way for the diligent researcher. Much of the material listed here reflects Indian life and history as seen by white observers-explorers, missionaries, traders, travelers, authors, government officials. Many of the items are most useful, perhaps, for observing white attitudes about Indians in a given time, for understanding popular American myths about Indian life or for studying white attempts to destroy or change Indian culture. Much of the material documents the formulation of government policy toward Native Americans and the relationship between the cultures generally.

The Bentley Historical Library publishes this bibliography in order to describe the holdings of the Michigan Historical Collections and to encourage research in the topic. We also hope to focus attention on the importance of locating and preserving source materials so that they can be made available for research. The advantages of cooperation among collecting agencies are highlighted by the prominent role of microfilm in this bibliography. The Michigan Historical Collections hopes to advance preservation, research and cooperation and seeks the assistance of all those interested in documenting fully the Native American experience in Michigan.

This bibliography was originally compiled by Mary Jo Pugh in November 1979 and has been updated and adapted for the web by Polly Reynolds and Len Coombs in December 2005.