Skip to Main Content
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Native American & Indigenous Studies

A general library research guide for Native American & Indigenous Studies at UMass Amherst.

Native Americans of the Northeast: A Historical Overview

Native Americans of New England: A Historical Overview is a three-week NEH Summer Institute for Teachers offered under the auspices of the Five Colleges Consortium

Native Americans of New England examines the history of Native American peoples in New England from before the onset of European colonization through the present day, showing how the past and the present are linked. A rigorous, interdisciplinary humanities program includes primary source analysis, museum visits, and conversations with Native and non-Native guest presenters. Concepts such as culture, identity, citizenship, and sovereignty take on new meanings when we examine the struggles and achievements of indigenous peoples.

About this guide: This research guide was prepared by the librarian for Native American & Indigenous Studies, Isabel Espinal, and the Librarian for Education, Steve McGinty, with particular focus on resources that will help teachers complete their projects. 

Being Native American in the USA

Teacher Project Topics

These were shared when we had our workshop on July 7.

Research Strategies & Tips

Sometimes you need to try different terminology in the same database or catalog, when searching for information on Native Americans. For example:

  • Native American
  • Indigenous
  • American Indian

It is also a good idea to search by the specific tribe or nation as well: For example:

  • Wampanoag
  • Abenaki

Also, use both indigenous as well as Europeanized terms, and use different spellings. For example:

  • Mohawk * Kahniakenhaka * Kanienkehaka
  • Iroquois * Haudenosaunee


Use RefWorks, Zotero, or EasyBib to manage your citations and create your bibliography.


After you've run a search, use the button to retrieve articles or to be taken directly to the Interlibrary Loan request page, so you can order the article, book or video if UMass does not have it available.

Article Databases

Try out these databases. Comment on them too!

Finding Books

person looking at books, photo by NJLA: New Jersey Library Association,

To find books at UMass, you have two options.

1. Start with the general search box on the library home page,  

  • This catalog gives you access to libraries and collections throughout North America and beyond! It starts with UMass but does not limit you to our catalog.

2. Or, use the Five Colleges Library Catalog.

  • This catalog lets you search in some very specifc ways, for example, by Library of Congress Subject Heading. Be as specific as possible in your searching. Start with a subject search (use keyword if subject yields no results). Search by author, title, subject, keyword, call number, journal title, etc. For materials on a specific subject, enter your term(s) into the Subject or Keyword search boxes. See below for some examples of relevant subject headings in Native American Indian Studies.

This sample list includes native communites that have significant migration to the Northeast. The standard subject heading for the whole of native communities in North America is: Indians of North America. Related headings include Indians of Central America and Indians of South America.

Highlighted Books

Native American Literature Collection at Amherst College

The Younghee Kim-Wait (AC 1982) Pablo Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection

Kim-Wait/Eisenberg CollectionIn August 2013, Amherst College acquired one of the most comprehensive collections of books by Native American authors ever assembled by a private collector. The collection includes fiction, poetry, history, philosophy, sermons, anthropological works, photography, activism, books for children, and much more. The aim is to document as thoroughly as possible the full spectrum of Native American writing and intellectual life from the 18th century to the present. The Library is committed to expanding the collection, having already made additional purchases to fill in gaps and extend the chronological scope of its holdings.


The Archives and Special Collections is located in the Robert Frost Library on the main campus quadrangle. The reading room, College History Room and exhibition area are located on Level A, at the base of the main lobby stairway. (See a campus map and other information for planning a visit.)


The Archives and Special Collections is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., year round. See detailed list of hours and holidays.

Local history!

Don't forget about Local History collections at public libraries. Most public library local history collections are not digitized.


Evaluating Websites




Five Criteria for Evaluating Webpages -- OLIN

Evaluating Information -- Johns Hopkins

Worksheet for Evaluating Websites -- Wisconsin

These links give great advice on what questions to ask yourself and what to look for when evaluating information you find on the internet - or anywhere.

Keep your research organized

 Put all your references in a citation manager, create quick and easy bibliographies, build your knowledgebase.


More on using RefWorks...

More on using Zotero...

More about EasyBib...

Copyright and Fair Use for Educators

Fair use is undoubtedly one of the most controversial issues in scholarly communication today. An offshoot of copyright law, "fair use" is generally understood to be the lawful use of copyrighted materials by non-copyright holders for the following purposes:

  • criticism
  • comment
  • news reporting
  • teaching
  • scholarship
  • research

Within these general purposes, US Copyright law further identifies four standards by which to judge whether a particular type of use is fair:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (, 2006).

Fair use of materials in the public domain

Materials that are part of the public domain are free to use without restriction. However, you should consult Stanford University Library's Copyright and Fair Use Overview's chapter on Public Domain works to be sure that other restrictions resulting from trademarks and derivations of public domain works do not affect your usage.  See also this chart from the Cornell Copyright Information Center that shows what works are in the public domain as of January 1, 2010.

Fair use and teaching

The Association of Research Libraries has created several guides to help you understand your "copyrights" as an educator:

  • Complete brochure -- full-color edition -- an in-depth guide to your rights and responsibilities when using both your own and others' materials for classroom instruction: [16.4 MB PDF] or [336 KB "zipped" PDF]

  • One-page “What You Can Do” chart--a quick reference sheet to your rights and responsibilities when using both your own and others' materials for classroom instruction: [120 KB PDF]

For more information, see our Copyright Guide and our Fair Use Guide, and visit See also our Open Educational Resources Guide.

Give feedback on library instruction

Fill out this anonymous evaluation form and give us feedback on the library instruction by librarian Isabel Espinal.