Spencer Research Library houses primary source materials on many of the topics and themes discussed in Braiding Sweetgrass, particularly related to the experience of Indigenous people in the surrounding region. The library also houses resources related to Haskell Indian Nations University, a former boarding school for Indigenous children and current tribal university located in Lawrence, Kansas.
Disclaimer: Spencer Research Library acknowledges that language and terminology that was considered acceptable in the past is sometimes no longer adequate or appropriate. The finding aids and catalog records for selected resources may include terms and language representative of when the items were created; this terminology may appear in the online records when copying information directly from the items themselves to preserve the historical context, especially with regard to original documents.
Descriptive practices in libraries and archives often utilize controlled vocabulary and standardized subject headings that come from governing institutions such as the Library of Congress. The language and terminology used typically reflect the perspectives of white institutions and European standards of information organization – not how indigenous peoples would describe themselves or their ways of knowing. The online records are reflective of the current descriptive standards used in libraries and archives, which may include language and terminology that is not only outdated but does not reflect indigenous perspective or preferences. Changing the standardized vocabulary and subject headings is a difficult and slow-moving endeavor. While progress has been made in recent years, updating these standards is an ongoing process.
For more information on this matter, please explore this LibGuide on Native American Literature and Library of Congress subject headings from Franklin Pierce University.
Printed materials related to the topics and themes discussed in Braiding Sweetgrass are also available at Spencer Research Library. Notable resources include books, maps, and government reports. Most of these materials document the interaction between American settlers and indigenous peoples in Kansas and the surrounding region from the mid-1800s into the twentieth century. The resources available are predominantly from the perspective of the American settlers as opposed to the indigenous peoples.
Please read the searching tips below for additional information to locate the most relevant printed materials.
Originally the United States Indian Industrial Training School, Haskell Indian Nations University has educated indigenous youth in Lawrence, Kansas, for more than 117 years. The school opened in 1884 as a boarding school for elementary aged children. Throughout the years Haskell has grown and evolved, expanding its enrollment to include high school students before becoming a junior college and, eventually, a four-year university. Below are a selection of notable manuscript collections and printed materials related to Haskell and its history.
A. Dill’s History of Haskell Indian Institute (RH MS P727)
This is a manuscript reflecting on the history of Haskell Indian Institute (later Haskell Indian Nations University). It was created by A. Dill around the time of the celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Haskell.
Indian Education at Haskell Institute, 1884-1937 by Loretta Granzer (RH MS D205)
This is Loretta Granzer’s master thesis written in 1937 for the University of Nebraska.
There are a variety of printed materials related to the topics and themes discussed in Braiding Sweetgrass available at Spencer Research Library. To find and explore printed resources, please use the online catalog and consider these search tips:
Utilize a variety of search terms and phrases. Suggested search terms include Indian, American Indian, Native American, Native Peoples, Indigenous Peoples, and First Nations – to name a few. The language used to describe resources related to indigenous peoples may include terms and phrases that are no longer commonly used and accepted in today’s society.
To search for phrases, add quotation marks around the words. For example, searching for “Native American” as a phrase will provide more specific results than searching for Native American without the quotation marks.
Search for the names of individuals and organizations. For example, searching for “Haskell” or “Potawatomi” will provide specific results related to Haskell Indian Nations University or the Potawatomi Nation.
The online catalog shows items from all KU Libraries locations. While it is beneficial to see everything available at KU in one place, it can be helpful to add limits to the search to find more relevant or specific material. On the right-hand side of the search results there are a variety of tools under ‘Tweak my results’ that can help do just that! Try sorting results by date instead of relevance, setting a date range for desired materials, or limiting the search results to only those found at Spencer.
Manuscript – or archival – collections generally contain unpublished materials such as letters, diaries, drafts of literary works, financial records, meeting minutes, reports, scrapbooks, memorabilia, photographs, and audiovisual materials. The unpublished materials in archival collections are usually one-of-a-kind items that exist only in the collection where a researcher finds them.
Below are some highlighted manuscript collections that include correspondence, photographs, government records, and research documenting indigenous culture and history:
Menominee Tribe Linguistic Research Materials (RH MS 910)
This collection contains photocopies of Leonard Bloomfield’s research on the language of the Menominee Indian Tribe, originally the inhabitants of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Bloomfield was a founder of American linguistic structuralism.
Personal Papers of James A. Clifton (PP 528)
James A. Clifton was a professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas from 1962 to 1970. Notable items in this collection include Clifton’s documentation, microfilm, and articles on the Potawatomi language and papers, maps, and family trees on the Potawatomi in Kansas and Illinois.
“Shawnee Indian History, 1688-1832” manuscript (RH MS P385)
This collection describes the history of the Shawnee tribe for the years 1688-1832. The history provides a high-level timeline of the interactions between the Shawnee and Euro-American settlers.
Records and Correspondence Regarding Delaware Indians (RH MS C36)
This collection includes 23 volumes of correspondence, documents, and other records about the Delaware Indians and other tribal groups as they relate to the Delaware. Notable items in this collection include correspondence with the Office of Indian Affairs, reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and legislation and legal documents filed in the United States Court of Claims.
Choctaw Nation Land Allotment (RH MS P243)
This land allotment to Thomas K. Whitthorne from August 17, 1904, was approved by the Choctaw and Chicksaw Nations to allot homesteads to each citizen of the two nations.
Kickapoo Land Allotments (RH MS P76)
This collection lists members of the Kickapoo and their land allotments. It also registers death and genealogies.
Samuel Johnson Crawford Papers (RH MS 31)
In this collection are materials concerning the negotiations for the settlement of a land sale in Oklahoma Territory for the Cheyenne and Arapahoe. Samuel Johnson Crawford was one of the attorneys hired to prosecute the suit for the land by the Cheyenne and Arapahoe. Crawford was also the third governor of Kansas.
Papers Concerning the Wyandot Tribe of Ohio Who Were Forced to Relocate to Kansas Territory in 1843 (RH MS 382)
The documents in this collection concern the Wyandot Nation and their relocation from Ohio to Kansas Territory in 1843. Most of the collection materials are letters to and from prominent members of the Wyandots including William Walker, Jr., Joel Walker, John W. Grey Eyes, and John Johnston, the Wyandot Indian agent. Other notable items include receipts for land purchased from the Delaware Nation.
Daniel B. Dyer Collection (RH MS P21)
Daniel B. Dyer was an Indian agent for the U.S. Department of the Interior in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was assigned to the Quapaw, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes at various points in his career. Notable items in this collection include photographs and a manuscript for a Native American sign language dictionary.
Journal and Record of Accounts of Royal Baldwin (RH MS B71)
Royal Baldwin was an Indian agent assigned to the Kickapoo Indians in Kansas Territory from 1856 to 1858. His journal includes descriptions of his travels and meetings in council with the Kickapoo, their conditions, and statements of accounts for individual members of the tribe.
Thomas Jefferson Letter (RH VLT MS Q1)
This letter from April 11, 1806 contains a message of peace for Native Americans chiefs to deliver to their tribes from Washington, D.C. Tribes addressed in the letter include the Dakota, Fox, Iowa, Kansa, Missouri, Osage, Oto, Pawnee, Potawatomi, and Sauk.
Photographs from the Indian Territory (RH PH 7)
This collection contains black and white photographic portraits of Native Americans and views of buildings in several Native American agency areas, including the Sac and Fox agency. Most of the photographs were taken in what later became the state of Oklahoma and are from approximately 1878-1927.
Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Photograph Collection (RH PH 10)
Portraits and group photographs of Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Native Americans at and near the Rosebud Indian Agency, South Dakota and Forts Robinson and Niobrara, Nebraska. Also includes photographs of the United States 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee. Many of the photographs were taken by J.A. Anderson. Terms and language used is representative of when the images/text were created and has not been replicated in this finding aid whenever possible.
Last Cherokee Nation Council Photographs (RH PH 20)
The Cherokee Nation Council was the lower legislative house of the Cherokee Nation. Established for the Cherokee Nation by the tribe’s 1839 constitution, the council was comprised of three representatives from each of the eight districts of the nation. This collection includes portraits of the members of the last council meeting in 1889.
Chilocco Indian School Photograph Collection (RH PH 122)
The Chilocco Indian School was a boarding school for Indigenous children. The school operated in Oklahoma from 1884 to 1980. This collection includes photographs of students’ school activities, primarily between 1910 and 1920.
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Researchers can search Spencer’s finding aids to learn more about manuscript collections at the library. A finding aid is a document created by archivists to aid researchers in navigating a manuscript collection and finding information about subjects, people, places, and events documented within it. The level of detail varies between finding aids. However, in general each one describes the creation, content, context, and organization of materials in a specific archival collection. Reading a finding aid can help researchers efficiently determine whether a particular archival collection might be relevant to their information needs and to discover boxes or folders of interest within that collection.
Just like searching the online catalog for KU Libraries, different search terms and phrases will help focus the results.