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Native Turtle Island (North America)

This guide is intended to help people doing research in the history of Native Turtle Island (excluding the area that is now contemporary Mexico).

Getting Started

Once you have selected a topic and discussed it with your instructor you will want to start your research with three items: 

  • the dated but still useful American Historical Association's published bibliography, Guide to Historical Literature
  • the Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, volume 1 North America Part 1 and Part 2,, and
  • the preeminent database for articles on the history of present-day Canada and the United States, America History and Life.

These serve different purposes.

Guide to Historical Literature

This two volume resource is a listing of the most important books -- usually in the English language --- by topic, and thus is invaluable to learning what is the past scholarship in the field, including what are some of the debates and who are the leading scholars on a specific topic. The pages relevant to this topic are in:

  • volume 2, Section 36 Native Peoples of the Americas

This section opens a brief introduction by Frederick E. Hoxie, a distinguished specialist on the field. The section is subdivided by geography and then chronologically with 269 titles listed for Canada and the United States, each with a signed short abstract by a specialist.

Using relevant titles gleaned from the section you should then check them against the NYU Libraries Catalog to find out not only if the library owns the book, but also what the Library of Congress considers the subject(s) to be. Using these library subject headings in the catalog will give you a number of other published works, but also -- and importantly -- similar books published since the Guide to Historical Literature.


You should also mine the bibliographies of the books you find in Bobst to identify more works, but also to identify relevant primary sources such as newspapers, archival and manuscript collections and published works such as diaries, memoirs, etc.  Many of these kinds of resources are identified for you throughout this Guide.

Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas

Use Volume 1 North America, Parts 1 and 2.

These volumes contain fifteen chapters by leading scholars on a wide range of topics.

America: History and Life

This database is a for resources for the scholarly book reviews, dissertations, periodical literature, and some websites on the history of Native North America.  It includes scholarship in numerous languages but no Native American languages as of 2020.  Because this is online you can also search using keywords, or use the database's own subject headings to explore and find more works.

Additional Information

Aside from these two items, what other bibliographies and databases you chose to use will largely be driven by your specific research topic. This research guide tries to help guide your selections in the vast number of available sources.

Buen provecho.