Native American Resources in the Archives
Take a moment to explore resources about Native American history and culture
Native American Heritage Month just ended but Archives and Special Collections would like to highlight resources that remain available year-round for patrons to learn more about Native American history and culture.
For thousands of years, this land has been the home of Patwin people. Today, there are three federally recognized Patwin tribes: Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
The Patwin people have remained committed to the stewardship of this land over many centuries. It has been cherished and protected, as elders have instructed the young through generations. We are honored and grateful to be here today on their traditional lands.
Supporting Research and Education
Archives and Special Collections stewards various archival and book collections that document the history of the Native American Studies Department at UC Davis and Native American history in California or the Western United States. All of the resources below are available year-round for the community to view in our reading room during our open hours.
A manuscript collection is a collection of personal or family papers that consists of mostly unpublished materials.
Researchers frequently use the following manuscript collections to learn about Native American history and you can too! Be sure to take a look at the finding aids (aka collection guides) for each collection to see more information about the collection. Some of the information found in the finding aids includes biographical information about the creator/collector and the contents of the collection.
Take a look at this video if you need help requesting materials:
Jack D. Forbes Collection (D-046)
Jack D. Forbes was a professor of Native American Studies and Anthropology at UC Davis from 1969 to 1994. He was of Powhatan-Renapé and Delaware-Lenápe heritage. He co-founded the California Indian Education Association (1967) and D-Q University (1971). In addition to that, he was also a published poet and author of short stories.
The collection primarily consists of:
- Manuscripts and proofs of articles written by Forbes
- Microcopies of records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Numerous serials, newspapers, clippings, and newsletters related to Native American issues.
- Materials from the California Indian Education Association and national Indian organizations.
- Materials related to ethnic studies, census records (U.S.), and California Indian Legal Services (CILS).
David Risling Papers (D-334)
David Risling was a Professor of Native American Studies at UC Davis from 1970-1991. He helped launch the Native American Studies program at UC Davis and helped found D-Q University in 1971. He was a member of the Hupa/Yurok/Karok tribes of Northern California.
His collection consists of files, audiotapes, newspaper clippings, newsletters, reports, memos, and legal papers relating to Native Americans. Some of the information that is available within this collection includes:
- Native American education
- Native American law
- Native American Rights Fund (NARF)
Sarah V. Hutchison Papers (D-240)
Sarah V. Hutchison was a Native American (Cherokee) psychotherapist, Professor of Applied Behavioral Sciences, and Lecturer of Native American Studies at UC Davis (1971-1986) who worked to further Native American education and development at UC Davis and D-Q University. She is one of the co-founders of D-Q University and she played a major role in rallying support for the college and the development of plans for an Indian medical school.
Her collection consists of meeting minutes, research notes, interviews, journal and newspaper articles, and speeches relating to the establishment, development, and eventual approval of D-Q University and the UC Davis Native American Studies program.
Al Logan Slagle D-437
Al Logan Slagle was a member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee in Oklahoma who worked as an attorney for the Association on American Indian Affairs. He was also the chair of the California Indian Legal Services. This collection contains research files and petitions from his work assisting tribal groups in obtaining recognition of their tribal status from the federal government. The collection also includes correspondence and manuscripts of his writings.
More Manuscript Collections
The following collections are also good resources to learn about Native American History and Culture.
- Northern California Native American Political Activists Collection
- Richard O. Clemmer Papers
- Steve Talbot Papers
- Frank Quinn Collection
- Marie Simmons Collection
- L’Amour Lynette & Sidiku Collection
- Stephen C Jett Papers
- Louis Owens Papers
- Nancy Webb Papers
- Stefano Varese Papers
Book and Pamphlet Collection
In addition to the archival collections, the Native American History and Culture Collection is also a good resource that consists entirely of books, pamphlets, and other similar publications. Established in the mid-1990s to augment existing manuscript collections in Native American Studies, this collection also serves as a means to document, preserve, and provide access to scarce and ephemeral publications documenting the history and culture of Native Americans.
Some of the strengths of this collection include the History of Indian tribes of the American West, the Indian Rights Movement, and Tribal publications in California and the West.
You can view and request items from this collection by using the library catalog.
Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center Collection
Another resource available to those interested in Native American history and culture is the Harrison Western Research Center Collection.
The contents of this collection were collected for more than eighty years by Michael Harrison. The book collection consists of more than 21,000 volumes relating to the history of the Trans-Mississippi West, including rare and fine press books, serials, pamphlets, maps, and other printed items.
The collection has a significant collection of books on Native Americans. The collection also includes a few examples of Native American craftsmanship in pottery and baskets. One highlight of Michael Harrison’s collection is a complete folio set of Edward Curtis’s “The North American Indian”. Check out the page for book collection to see what other materials the Harrison collection holds.
Classes and groups
Archives and Special Collections welcomes opportunities to collaborate with instructors from UC Davis or groups (affiliates and non-affiliates) if you see that any of the material mentioned above is relevant to you. Please contact us at least two weeks in advance to ensure we can prepare the best experience for you.
- Classes: Different types of class visits can take place, such as orientations, workshops, in-classroom demonstrations, assignment support, and small group activities. More information about requesting class sessions can be found on this page.
- Tours: Staff are pleased to present rare and archival materials to groups to show how primary source materials can spark the imagination and inspire deeper learning. We work closely with groups to tailor sessions to specific interests and learning goals. Tours of Archives and Special Collections can be arranged for small groups of five or fewer people during our operating hours. Contact us if you would like a tour.
- Group research: Groups of four or more researchers should contact Special Collections to book a specific research appointment time. All participants of the group should register for Aeon and request the materials in advance of their group visit.
More information about visiting Archives and Special Collections can be found here.