Friday, November 19, 2010

Finding Native American/Indian Treaties

Last week I presented to my colleagues some updates to the Resources by Subject: Political Science page. In that presentation I pointed out one of our resources Public Documents Masterfile, which can aid researchers in finding government documents. Essentially, it serves as an index of other indexes. Therefore, this database does not provide full-text access, but it refers you to other sources, when can then refer you to the actual items with the full-text documents. Welcome to the world of government and legal research.

As an example, I showed how to find treaties between the U.S. government and the Shoshone/Bannock Tribes. A search for Shoshone Treaty brings back these results:

Selecting the first option with four records bring up this

Copying and pasting these titles into our catalog will help you find where they are located in our Library.  Actually, the following title Descriptive Catalog of the Government Publications of the United States will return a negative search, because the physical volume in question spell catalog like this: catalogue.  Whenever a title search does not work for me, my next step is to conduct an author search, which happens to be Poore, Benjamin Perley: .

The author search worked, and I found a call number but could not locate it on the shelf, so our government documents librarian helped me find it.  The numbers after the colon "963" and "991" seemed to refer to page numbers.  Nothing on page 963 seemed to refer to the Shoshone Indians, but there was something on page 991:
Report on the Shoshone and Bannock Indians.  See Columbus Delano.  Jan.22, 1874.  House Ex.Docs., No.61, 43d Cong.,1st sess., Vol.IX  2pp.  Transmitting information in regard to articles of convention concluded with the chiefs and headmen of the Shoshone and Bannock Indians for relinquishment of a portion of their reservation in Wyoming Territory.
Then my government documents colleague directed me to the CIS US Serial Set Index: 35th-45th Congresses 1857-1879 (Part II). Part II are "Finding Lists," so if you know what you want, that's the volume you need. If you are looking for documents according to their subject take a look at the two subject indexes on those sessions of congress.

Now we looked up the 43rd Congress, 1st session, which we found on page 1540. (Incidentally, this volume started on page 1293.) We found the title of House Executive Document 61: "Articles of convention with Shoshone and Bannock Indians for relinquishment of portion of their reservation in Wyoming Territory. Yes, we already had that information, so the most important thing at this point was the Volume and Serial numbers for the Serial Set. These were Vol. 9 Serial 1607.

We hiked up to the third floor, and, of course, the government documents librarian knows where the Serial Set is located, so I just followed. It turns out that we lack Serial number 1607. 1606 and 1608 sat on the shelf, but no 1607; however, someone had photocopied House Executive document 102, inserted it between a hard cover, and placed it on the shelf. This one did not relate directly to the Shoshone Bannock Tribes, but it did relate to Idaho: "Reservation for Indians of Colville agency, and for Coeur d'Alene Indians, of Territory of Idaho.

Since we could not locate it on the shelves, we went to the microfiche cabinets and found the microfiche that had Serial 1607, which included H.Ex.Doc.61. Today I went and refreshed my memory on using the microfiche and microfilm readers, scanned a copy of the two-page document. On one of my Google Sites pages it is the pdf document titled Shoshone Treaty.

Faster Way to Locate Native American/Indian Treaties

Yes, it does not have to take you this long to locate these treaties. Oklahoma State University has digitized many, if not all, of the treaties between the U.S. federal government and the sovereign tribes. Make sure to search Kappler's Indian Affairs:

Our Library does have a print copy of Kappler's Indian Affairs. Volume II on Laws and Treaties is where you would look to find the treaties. The index at the back points to the pages necessary for the appropriate tribal treaty in question. See pages 694, 848-51,859, and 1020 for treaties that mention the Shoshoni or Shoshone/Bannock Tribes. A look at our copy will show that these pages have been frequently looked at, since these are the nearest tribes to Pocatello, where Idaho State University resides.

Chief Pokatello helped negotiate the 1863 treaty; hence the name of the city here. The Shoshone/Bannock tribes live on the Fort Hall reservation.

Thank you, Oklahoma State University. Digital access takes much less time than hunting down the print copy.

No comments: