The Ohio Valley-Great Lakes Ethnohistory Archive is a unique assemblage of primary and secondary resources pertaining to the Native American occupancy of the region. It includes nearly a thousand microfilm reels, reproduced maps and other documents, ethnic group data files, detailed reports for many Indian treaty areas, indices that assist in using portions of the collection, and correspondence records. In sum it locates in one place and in a reasonably accessible form a significant portion of the literature needed to undertake ethnohistoric research in the Ohio Valley Great Lakes area.
The Archive was assembled at Indiana University during a 13 year period, beginning in 1953, in support of the Ohio Valley-Great Lakes Ethnohistory Project. This U.S. Department of Justice funded research activity had as its purpose 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.
Because a project with this scope had never been attempted and if the objectives were to be attained, it was determined early that it would be necessary to assess documentary holdings in the United States and foreign archives and duplicate the relevant resources, whenever possible. These activities were carried on throughout the life of the project. National Archives microfilms were obtained and their contents were systematically surveyed and indexed. A great variety of documents were transcribed or reproduced. Collections containing personal papers having relevance to the history of the Old Northwest Territory were secured from their respective repositories. Of particular importance was the identification of previously unrecorded or unutilized primary documents, e.g. a collection of French documents obtained for the project by the Library of Congress. Additionally, the published secondary sources were reexamined.
The project was under the direction of Professor Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin of the Department of History, Indiana University; the full-time staff varied from 3-5 individuals. Additional personnel support was provided by part-time graduate student employees in anthropology and history.
The following describes the several collections that comprise the Ohio Valley-Great Lakes Archive and lists their content, arrangement, and location. It was prepared by David R. Miller, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. Individuals with research interest in the ethnohistory of the region are invited to make use of this unique resource. Arrangements can be made by contacting, preferably through written correspondence, Director, Glenn A Black Laboratory of Archaeology, 9th and Fess Streets, Bloomington, Indiana 47405.
THE COLLECTIONS OF THE OHIO VALLEY-GREAT LAKES
The geographic area investigated by the Ohio Valley-Great Lakes Ethnohistory Project include in whole or in part the present states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. Within this broad region the project dealt with specific treaty cessions, which are designated as Royce Areas. The Royce Areas are delimited, with maps, in the 18th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology (1899).
The Indian tribal groups considered include the Chippewa (Ojibwa), Delaware, Huron (Wyandot), Illinois, Kickapoo, Mascouten, Menomini, Miami (Miami proper, Wea, Piankashaw, Eel River), Ohio Valley Iroquois, Ottawa, Pottawatomi, Sac, Shawnee, Santee Dakota, and Winnebago.
The Ohio Valley-Great Lakes Ethnohistory Archive is divided into four collections. Tribal History Documents Collection, Microfilm Collection, Indian Claims Commission Collection, and General Collections. Various indices were prepared during the course of the project and these facilitate access to the collections. A comprehensive project bibliography also records all sources used in preparing the reports.
(Assembled by: David R. Miller, Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, 1979)
ONLINE RESOUCES AND FINDERS GUIDES: THE OHIO VALLEY-GREAT LAKES ETHNOHISTORY ARCHIVE
- ACCESS TO THE MIAMI ARCHIVES (Online, text-searchable part of Miami Archive)
- GENERAL COLLECTIONS (Description and finders guide)
- TRIBAL HISTORY DOCUMENTS COLLECTION (Description and finders guide)
- MICROFILM COLLECTION (Description and finders guide)
- INDIAN CLAIMS COMMISSION COLLECTION (Description and finders guide)
SUMMARY REPORTS FROM THE GREAT LAKES PROJECT: OHIO VALLEY-GREAT LAKES ETHNOHISTORY ARCHIVE
- The Great Lakes Project: Location of the Pottawatomie and Other Tribes (Summary report by David A Baerreis)
- The GREAT LAKES PROJECT: THE Band Affiliation of Potawatomi Treaty Signatories (Summary report by David A Baerreis)