Native American Information

The history of Minnesota before European settlements of the past 200 years is the history of the Native American culture that has thrived in this region for many centuries.

One of our tasks as librarians is to evaluate and select materials about Minnesota's Native American culture and history. This task has been simplified with the profusion of materials and information available on Native Americans. No longer are we limited to materials produced from the perspective of European and "white American" values and attitudes. While these are important materials to provide, other materials are available which more faithfully portray Native Americans and their own sense of culture and history.

Our other task is to provide the most up-to-date and useful information about Minnesota's Native American culture and history to our patrons. We should be aware of the increasing use of our facilities of Native Americans (and other "non-white" patrons) and be sensitive to their needs in finding information on topics such as treaty rights, sovereignty, racism and religious freedom.

The most comprehensive and useful bibliographic tool for libraries of all sizes and types is the AMERICAN INDIAN RESOURCE MANUAL FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES (1992) compiled by Frances de Usabel and Jane Roeber and published by the Wisconsin Department of Public Department of Public Instruction. This manual emphasizes collection evaluation and development, core collections, programming assistance, tribal motifs clip art, basic information about Native Wisconsin citizens, and interlibrary loan resources which are available to Minnesota libraries.

This manual emphasizes six Wisconsin Native American groups including two of the three major Minnesota Native American groups: the Ojibway (Anishinabe or Chippewa) and the Winnebago (Hochungra). Another resource called NATIVE AMERICAN RESOURCE GUIDE from the North Dakota Education Association Minority Affairs Commission covers the third major Minnesota group: Dakota (Sioux).

There are other fine resources available in this area. Often the most important part of your Minnesota History collection will be the resources specific to your own city and county.

Note: Minnesota librarians are compiling a Minnesota version of the American Indian Resource Manual for Public Libraries. If you are interested in working on this project or need more information, contact the MLA office or the RASS Chair.

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This page was updated December 6, 2003.