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Native American Resources in the Manuscript Division

Native Advocacy

Warren K. Leffler, photographer. Tipi with sign "American Indian Movement" on the grounds of the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., during the "Longest walk". 1978. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Spanning from 1898 to 1996, the collections described in this page document the long history of individuals and groups advocating for Native American rights. The majority of the materials in these collections come from white and other non-Native groups and individuals advocating on behalf of Native Americans. Sometimes that work was done in close collaboration with Native American advocates, as shown in the ERAmerica records, which document correspondence between Equal Rights Amendment advocates and Native leaders on issues facing Native American women. Other times, this work was taken on as a paternalistic effort. The records of the Indian Rights Association, for example, document the organization's efforts to assimilate Native Americans into white, Christian society.

The Manuscript Division does hold some material from Native-led advocacy groups. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights records, for example, includes organizational files with materials that come directly from Native-led organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians. The same collection holds a folder on the "Longest Walk", where Native Americans from various nations walked 2,800 miles from Alcatraz Island to Washington D.C. to advocate for Native rights. Some of the marchers camped on the grounds of the Washington Monument, pictured in the image on the right.

Tip: Search collection names in the community name index for a fuller list of specific communities mentioned in each collection.


The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.