Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection

GLOVE Collection

The Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection (GLOVE) is a unique assemblage of primary and secondary resources pertaining to the Native American occupancy of the region. These items were assembled in the 1950s by Indiana University professor, Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin and her eight-person research team to support the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Project. This U.S. Department of Justice funded research activity was responsible for the preparation of in-depth reports concerning American Indian land use and tenure. These reports were intended to be used in the government's defense against cases involving alleged treaty inequities and which were brought before the Indian Claims Commission, a body and a process authorized by federal legislation signed into law on August 13, 1946.

These materials cover history and land use of tribes and groups in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region from the 1600s until the late 1900s, and record the findings of the Indian Claims Commission.

Hear an overview!

What's the GLOVE?

The IUMAA Librarian quickly discusses the GLOVE in this 10-minute Coffee & Curators talk presented fall 2021:

YouTube video


The GLOVE is IUMAA Reading Room's most used collection. The collection is valuable for its original purpose of providing evidence for legal disputes of land and treaty violations; however, it is also an incredible resource for anyone researching American Indian or colonial history topics. The narrow focus on American Indian land use and occupancy may seem of limited value to some researchers, but many topics are inadvertently covered by these gathered documents.

"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.

For instance, many of the documents in the Tribal History Documents series of the GLOVE might only consist of 3 pages of a 200 page book or 1 page from a 5 page letter discussing travel, people, plants, and animals; the way that the collection was originally assembled provides a road map for studying Native history. Imaginative digital strategies are allowing us to highlight the full value of the information contained in the complex relationships within the collection by connecting our partial document to its original source. Researchers can find an online Zotero bibliography digitally creating a library of resources by tribe. This process has only begun and will be continuing through the rest of the series.