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Northeast Illinois Documents Librarians (NIDL)-Member Collections related to Native American & Indigenous Studies

Purpose of this Guide

The Fall 2019 meeting of the Northeast Illinois Government Documents Librarians (NIDL) took place at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, located in Evanston, Illinois.  This guide was compiled to aid the Museum's researchers find additional resources to support their work.  Both public and private institutions are included among the libraries on this guide, so information about guest access to facilities and collections has been provided.

The information on this guide is based upon a survey conducted of the NIDL membership during Fall 2019.  Please verify the availability of resources mentioned on this guide with specific libraries before your visit, as access can change over time.

The Edward Ayer Collection at the Newberry Library (60 W Walton St, Chicago, IL 60610) is among the best collections in the world supporting research on behalf of, in collaboration with, and about Native American and Indigenous communities, cultures, and histories. Start with this page that provides research guides and collection descriptions.  The Newberry Library is NOT a member of NIDL and was not invited to participate in the survey that informed other pages of this guide.

The National Archives at Chicago (7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL  60629) houses permanent records created by federal agencies and courts in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  Among the record groups in the subject list of possible interest are the following under the category of Native Americans RG 21 Records of the District Courts of the United States;  RG 75 Bureau of Indian Affairs; RG 118 Records of United States Attorneys;  RG 435 Records of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. The National Archives at Chicago is NOT a member of NIDL and was not invited to participate in the survey that informed other pages of this guide. 

The following resources were recommended by Sara Davis, Education Specialist, National Archives.

  • Native Communities Research Guides
    Includes ten regional Research Guides for searching the National Archives Catalog
    Provides research strategies for locating National Archives records of historic tribes from 49 states and all 535 currently federally recognized Native Communities.
  • National Archives Catalog
    The online public portal to our records where you can search, access, and learn more about our holdings.
  • Native American Heritage
    Among the billions of historical records housed at the National Archives throughout the country, researchers can find information relating to American Indians from as early as 1774 through the mid1990s. These topic pages provide guidance and information to support your research.
  • DocsTeach - American Indians
    Primary source documents and classroom activities are being added to help round out this very popular topic over the next few months.
  • Citizen Archivist Dashboard
    Your active participation in the Citizen Archivist portion of the Native Communities Program will help us identify and focus on those events and issues that are most important to you, your school, and your community.
  • Indian Treaty Digitization Project
    Thanks to a generous anonymous donation, the National Archives is currently scanning all the ratified and unratified treaties between the United States and Native People enacted from before 1778 to 1870, along with their associated documents.  To access the treaties and their related material, go to the National Archives Catalog
    • Type Indian Treaty into the search box.
    • Type the number 11 in the Record Group Number / Collection ID: box (For
      Record Group 11, General Records of the United States Government).
    • Narrow your search to “Archival Descriptions with Digital Objects.” There will be a few unrelated documents included in the results.

NIDL Member LIbraries That Responded to the Survey

Chicago Public Library
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State Street, Chicago IL 60605
Phone Number for Research Assistance: 312-747-4300
Guest Access Information:

Collections of Interest

  • CPL subscribes to the Gale Virtual Reference Library, which has the book UXL Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. It provides detailed studies of tribes from all over the United States and Canada, including small tribes and some that no longer exist.
  • The North American Indian Language collection, part of the larger World Language Collection (on the 7th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center), is comprised primarily of dictionaries, books on grammar, language learning materials, and some dual language books. It has books in Ojibwe, Dakota/Lakota, Creek, Muskogee, Cherokee, Blackfoot, Chickasaw, Choctoaw, Comanche, Cree, and Navajo, although there may be just one book in some of those languages.



Illinois Institute of Technology
Paul V. Galvin Library
35 W 33rd Street, Chicago
Phone Number for Research Assistance: 312-567-3616
Guest Access Information:

Northeastern Illinois University
Ronald Williams Library
5500 N. St. Louis Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Phone Number for Research Assistance: (773) 442-4410
Guest Access Information

Collections of Interest:


Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Northwestern Legal Research Center
375 E. Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60611

Phone Number for Research Assistance: 312-503-8450
Guest Access Information

Research Guide:  American Indian Law Research Guide
Note:  As described in the visitor policy, our library is not generally open to individuals outside the Northwestern Law or legal communities. But if a research has a legitimate need to use our collection, we are happy to provide visitor access to researchers. For questions contact:  Jamie Sommer 


Northwestern University Libraries
University Library
1970 Campus Drive, Evanston IL 60208
Phone Number for Research Assistance: 847-491-7658
Guest Access Information

Research Guide: Native American Studies

Institutional Resources


Poplar Creek Public Library
Sonya Crawshaw Branch
4300 Audrey Lane
Hanover Park, IL 60133
Phone Number for Research Assistance: 630-372-3135

Guest Access Information

University of Chicago
Special Collections Research Center
1100 E. 57th St., Chicago, IL 60637

Research Collections:  Native American Educational Services - a listing of archival finding aids for collections related to NAES. Additional archival collections of researchers, activists, artists, organizations, etc. pertinent to Native American and Indigenous Studies are available.  Explore the Finding Aids using keywords searches.

This entry is incomplete.


University of Illinois at Chicago
Richard J. Daley Library
801 S. Morgan St.

Phone Number for Research Assistance: 312-996-2726
Guest Access Information

Research Guides: