Library resource American Indian newspapers: nearly 200 years of Native American journalism

Researchers now have access to nearly 200 years of print journalism by and for the Indigenous people of the United States and Canada. From the earliest existing issue of the “Cherokee Phoenix” (1828) to present-day news about education, environmentalism, land rights, and cultural representation, the Library’s new online resource from Adam Matthew, American Indian Newspapers, combines extensive collections from two archives:

  • The Sequoyah National Research Center, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of American Indian, Alaska Native, and First Nations newspapers and periodicals—2,800 titles published by tribal communities and governments, Native organizations, language programs, and other groups. In addition to printed text, the archive has rare manuscripts, maps, posters, photographs, and audio-visual recordings. The digitized collection includes a century of titles from 1904 to 2016.
  • The Newberry Library in Chicago offers access to a wide array of non-circulating material—rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and print from 1828 to 1956, including the oldest item: the March 6, 1828 issue of the bilingual Cherokee Phoenix with text in Cherokee translated into English. The archive has material published in other indigenous languages including Navajo, Ōlelo Hawaiʻi, and Chinuk Wawa.

Most publications in American Indian Newspapers grew out of the first flowering of activism following the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. Topics include self-determination and the American Indian Movement (AIM), but also cover a broad range of Indigenous political opinion and information about reservation and urban community life, economic development, civil rights, environmental movements, and cultural identity. Not only national periodicals but local community news and student publications comprise 45 unique titles in the archive.

Front page of March 6, 1828 issue of the Cherokee Phoenix

The March 6, 1828 issue of the Cherokee Phoenix has text in both Cherokee (a syllabary devised in the early 19th century by the legendary Sequoyah) and English.

Front page of December 2016 issue of Navajo Times

The Navajo Times reports in December 2016 that President Obama has designated 1,351,849 acres in Utah, including the land formation known as “Bears Ears,” as a National Monument.

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