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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

Caution: Before using the information from any web pages in your paper, be certain that your source is legitimate and accurate.

Retire the Chief website exists to give a voice, create dialogue, and to advocate a change in policy that would extinguish the use of Chief Illiniwik at the University of Chicago. This website also provides updates, news, pro/con opinions about the use of Indians as mascots.

This website provides a detailed bibliography titled, “Native Americans: Stereotypes vs. Reality.” The list is a good starting point for those who wish to do research on stereotypes. An easy link is provided that allows the user to email the list to themselves. The Smithsonian Institute provides the list.


This site administered by the American Museum of Natural History provides a lengthy list of resources available on-line, in print and film. Charlene Teters’ exhibit on mascot stereotypes is also accessible with public commentary from people of all ages.

The Media Awareness Network has created “Common Portrayals of Aboriginal People” in their “Media Issues” section discussing representations of Indians. Romanticism, historical inaccuracies, stereotyping by omission, and simplistic characteristics are a few misrepresentations discussed. Links to more relevant articles are easily accessible.

The University of Minnesota has created a library resources guide of representations of American Indians in American film and culture. Large compilations of resources available in their library and on-line are provided. This site has tons of resources and databases that are definitely useful to any reseacher.

The Tulsa City-County Library has an American Indian Resource Center on-line. This site is most useful for educators who evaluate materials like picture books and posters before presenting it to their students. A list of do’s and don’ts when teaching Indian children is given.

Reference Books

The following bibliography lists reference material dealing with stereotypes relating to American Indians. These include books and other resources found in the Labriola National American Indian Data Center in Arizona State University Libraries, websites, and other research facilities. 


Theses and Dissertations

“ The Attitudes of Selected Educational Groups in Arizona Toward Indians ,” Timothy Francis Shaunessy.

A dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy, Arizona State University, December 1976. The different educational groups selected for this paper are administration faculty members, school board presidents and superintendents in Arizona.

Journal Articles

Smoke or Signals?: American Popular Culture and the Challenge to Hegemonic Images of American Indians in Native American Film,” John Mihelich, Wicazo Sa Review 16:2 (2001) 129-137. This article explores how popular culture has been incorporated in shaping perceptions about American Indians. The whole issue of this journal is about film and video making it very useful in researching stereotypes discussing different movies like Smoke Signals, Thunderheart, Powwow Highway, Lakota Woman and television documentaries.

The Need for Textbook Reform: An American Indian Example”, James P. Charles, Journal of American Indian Education, 28:3 (1989) 1-13. The article is an analysis of the form and content of literature, oral and written, in a South Carolina high school. Four stereotypic categories are explored: noble savages, savage savages, generic Indians, and living fossils. Useful references are listed.



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 “Find: Specialized Collections” or click on the link from the Labriola website: Examples of subjects are: stereotypes and/or American Indians, mascots.

Rethinking Columbus: Teaching About the 500 th Anniversary of Columbus’s Arrival in America. Rethinking Schools, 1991. The whole issue of this magazine discusses Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of this country and how stereotypes and historical inaccuracies have been carried on through the institution of education. Issues relating to elementary and secondary schools issues, contemporary issues, and terminology in the classroom are just a few topics covered.

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.