Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection

“This collection is unique in scope, spanning over three hundred years of Native-Euroamerican relations, and it is one of the most comprehensive collections of ethnohistoric data in existence for Indian groups” and “the depth and breadth of the information contained in it is staggering, and it is one of the single most important achievements of historical research on early America…”

John M. Glen, Alan F. January, Suzanne K. Justice, Glenn L. McMullen, and Saundra Taylor, “Indiana Archives: Indiana before Statehood,” Indiana Magazine of History XCIX, no. 3 (2003): 263-279.

Tribal History Document Series

The Tribal History Document Series (THDS) of the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory collection is the most used series of documents. It is made up of 256 archival documents that contain an estimated 157,000 pages.This series brings together documentary evidence from a variety of sources scattered across the world.

When the GLOVE researchers found documents relating how land in the Midwest was used, they translated, photocopied, typed, or otherwise transcribed the relevant passage, which may only be 2 pages from a 25 page chapter, or a paragraph from a diary, noted the original source, and brought a physical copy back to be organized at IU. The documents were arranged into tribal groups and then chronologically within that tribe; we identify thisi material as the Tribal History Document Series. 

Example of THDS document with description. (Shawnee 8012-01-009)
Scanned item 8012-01-009: O'Callaghan, E.B., Berthold Fernos, and John Romeyn Brodhead. Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New-York: Procured in Holland, England, and France, Vol. VIII, pp. 534-542.

Pictured are a few example of what a researcher might find in this series. You'll see the citation is at the top of the page. The researcher who collected the document typed the paragraphs at the bottom. At the top-right you’ll see a key denoting that this passage relates to more than one tribe, so a copy of this document will be found in each of the relevant tribe’s boxes within the THDS. Sometimes researchers underlined, crossed-out, or made some other marginalia that can be different between copies, though. The conditions of the pages vary.

Think of this series as research notes gathered by the GLOVE project team. These materials were then summarized by those researchers into Ethnohistorical Reports that were later submitted in the Department of Justice in the Indian Claims Commission legal cases.

In collaboration with several federally recognized tribes, we are hard at work digitizing this series of materials so researchers can access the pages from a distance.

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