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American Indian Studies

This page is a starting point for all students researching American Indian issues. This guide is created by the Labriola National American Indian Data Center.

Article Databases

There are many databases on the online catalog that can aid a student in finding journal articles online and in the library periodicals section downstairs. There are a couple of ways to get into article databases from the ASU Library Homepage. One way is to click on “Research Databases”, then "select by database subject area" to “American Indian Studies” and click “GO”. You will see that 16 different databases are there for you to browse, and within them you will be able to find the full text of many items of interest.

A description of what each database offers helps the researcher to choose whether they want journal articles, newspaper articles, magazines, newsletters, etc. Finding the right articles just takes using the right words to be successful in a search. Several tries using different keywords will give a better selection of material to choose from. For example, in searching for sovereignty, some keywords to use are: sovereignty, American Indian sovereignty, tribal sovereignty, self-determination, American Indians and sovereignty, etc. Use each term for a subject search, title search, or keyword search.


Included are small manuscripts, informational brochures, museum publications, photographs (including slides), radio transcripts, articles, and poetry. To find ephemera related to sovereignty, search the American Indian Index and the Arizona and Southwestern Index, which are accessed from the University Libraries home page under “Indexes” or click on the link from the Labriola website: Examples of subjects are: sovereignty, self-determination, and tribal sovereignty.


Here are a couple of papers in the ephemera collection that discuss sovereignty from different perspectives:

  • Northern Lights, Vol. 3 #3, May/June 1987, pp. 7-9. This issue of Northern
    Lights feature tribal sovereignty as its theme.
    Labriola LAB EPH P-171
  • Land Rights News. Land Rights News is published for the Aboriginal people of
    Australia, who are seeking treaties to protect native title and sovereign rights.
    Labriola DU 666 .L36 Folio


Reference Books

The following bibliography lists reference material dealing with American Indian Sovereignty. These resources include material found in the Labriola American Indian Data Center in the University Libraries at Arizona State University, websites, and other research facilities.


Theses and Dissertations

Video Recordings


“A Question of Sovereignty [videorecording]”: with Kirke Kickingbird / The Institute for the Development of Indian Law; produced and directed by Joel L. Freedman; written by Joan Kuehl; a Cinnamon production. Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Development of Indian Law, 1977.
Labriola KF 8205 .Q84 1977 VIDEO

This 10-minute video is a great start for those just starting to research American Indian Sovereignty, by giving a basic definition of what “sovereign power” is.


Chinook Trilogy [videorecording], Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish commission (CRITFC), Portland, Oregon, 1994.

Each video is 30 minutes long. The Chinook Trilogy was created by CRITFC, composed of the Warm Springs, Yakama, Umatilla, and Nez Perce tribes, in an effort to inform and educate the public about fishing rights and its implications toward tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, ecological conditions of the Columbia River and salmon population.

Included with each tape is a supplement titled “Che Wana Tymoo (Stories of the Big River).” This little handout includes a map of the tribes of the Columbia River, a short time-line history of treaty fishing, the importance of saving the fish, and questions & answers on treaty rights.

  • Part 1: “My Strength is From the Fish.” This first tape serves as an introduction to fishing rights along the Columbia River. The importance of salmon fishing is explained from perspectives of community members, tribal leaders, fishers and others. The current state of fishing is introduced.
    Labriola E98 .F4 M9x 1994 VIDEO
  • Part 2: “Empty Promises, Empty Nets.” The second tape discusses fishing as treaty and sovereign rights of tribes. The Treaty of 1855 and the case of United States v. Washington, otherwise known as The Boldt Decision, are discussed. This tape features the legal aspects fishing rights bound by treaties and courts decisions. The upholding of fishing rights is a theme throughout the tape.
    Labriola E98 .F4 E47x 1994 VIDEO
  • Part 3: “Matter of Trust.” The third and last tape of the Chinook Trilogy focuses primarily on the ecological effects that have impacted the salmon population throughout history. Fresh water ecosystems and other solutions to increase salmon population are detailed in this last video.
    Labriola E98 .F4 M38x 1995 VIDEO

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.