American Indian Church Records
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To determine religious affiliation after 1900 an obituary or funeral home may, before 1900 study what religions were prominent in the area and local history. Study tribal history and Religious history,
"American Indian religious varied from the most primitive shamanism--little more than the exercise of magic, usually beneficial, by self-elected practitioners--to organized, priestly systems based on high philosophies. Whatever the type, one thing is constant: religion permeated daily life."
Oliver La Farge, anthropologist
A number of denominations in the United States proselyted among the American Indians. Some of the more active groups who sent missionaries among the native population were:
- For records:
- Marquette University (Upper Midwest and general U.S.),
- Gonzaga university (Pacific Northwest and Alaska),
- Diocesan Archives (area covered by Diocese)
- Family History Library (Spanish Mission records of California and New Mexico abstract and copies of originals on microfilm )
Tribes Served: Cherokee, Oregon Indians, Wyandot, Oneida of Wisconsin, Indians of Minnesota, and others.
- Kansas Historical Society; local historical societies
- Drew University, New Jersey
- Library of the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church, (475 Riveside Dr. New York, NY)
- Moravian Archives (41 W Locust St. Behtleham, PA. 18018 Phone: 1-610-866-3255);
- local historical societies.
Tribes served: Delaware, Mohegan, Ohio Indians, Indiana Indians: Creeks and Cherokee
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Family History Library (familysearch.org)
- Church History Library (history.lds.org)
- Early missions to the Indians of North America include: Catawba, Lemhi (Snake), Tooele (Paiute), Southern Indian (Paiute, Navajo) Wind River (Shoshone) and in Indian Territory
Tribes Served: Stokbridge, Oneida, Chickasaw, Tuscarora, Seneca, Shinnecock, Cherokee, Choctaw, Osage, Ojibwa, Sioux, Pawnee, Indians of Oregon, Iowa, Sack and Fox, Creek, and Blackfeet
- Presbyterian Historical Society; local historical societies.
- Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH.,
- Houghton Library Harvard Library, Boston, MA.,
- Congregational House, 14 1/4 Beacon St. Boston, MA
- American Indian Mission Association (mentioned in a treaty)
- For records: Kansas and Oklahoma Historical Societies, and Family History Library
Tribes served: Seneca of New York and others
- Friends Historical Library Swathmore College, (500 College Ave, Swarthmore,PA.19081 phone: 1-610-328-8000)
- Committee on Records (221E 15th Street, New York,NY)
- Department of Records (3rd and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA)
- Quaker Collection, Haverford College (370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041 phone 1-610-896-1000)
The records created varied among the denominations. Some kept records of individuals who were baptized or who joined with that denomination. Some kept only reports of activities among the native tribes or groups. Some have preserved correspondence with their respective oversight boards and/or government offices.
It was not uncommon, when records of Indian individuals were kept, to list those individuals under a "Christian" name, rather than their native name. This makes it more difficult to determine whether or not names in the church records are for the same individual as those in government records.
- Brinton, Daniel G. Religions of Primitive Peoples. Putnam, 1904.
- Brown, Joseph. The Scared Pipe. Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1953.
- Feraca, Stephen E. Wakinyan: Contemporary Teton-Dakota Religion. Browning, Montana, Museum of the Plains Indian, 1963.
- Fewkes, Walter J. Hopi Katchinas Drawn by Native Artists. Chicago, Rio Grande Classics, 1963.
- Kroeber, A. L. The Religion of the Indians of California. Berkeley, The University Press, 1903.
- Lowie, Robert H. Primitive Religion. New York, Boni and Liveright, 1924.
- Malan, Vernon D and Clinton J. Jesser. The Dakota Indian Religion. Brookings, South Dakota, Rural Sociology Department. South Dakota State College, 1959. (Bulletin 473)
- McLaughlin, Marie L. Myths and Legends of the Sioux. Bismarck, North Dakota, Bismarck Tribune Co., 1916.
- Parsons, Elsie Worthington. Pueblo Indian Religion. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1939. (Ethnological Series)
- Underhill, Ruth. Papago Indian Religion. New York, Columbia University Press, 1946. (Columbia University Contributions to Anthropology No. 33)
- Watson, Larry S. Using Church Records in Indian Research. Heritage Quest. Issue 69, May/June 1997, page 99-102. Article also in: The Journal of American Indian Family Research. Vol. 8 No. 2, pages 3-13. FHL 970.1 J825j
- Loskiel, Goerge H.History of the Moravian Mission Among the Indians in North America from its Commencement to the Present Time. London. 1888.
- McCoy, Isaac. History of the Baptist Indian Missions Embracing Remarks on the Former and Present Condition of the Aboriginal Tribes: Their Settlement within the Indian Territory, and Their Future Prospects. Washington,DC. Wm. M. Morrison. 1840, reprint Johnson reprint Company. 1970. FHL book 970.1 M137hWorldCat
- McCoy, Isaac.History of Baptist Indian Missions: A Series in American Studies. New York: Johnson Reprint, 1970.
- Schwarze, Edmund.History of the Moravian Missions Among Southern Indian Tribes of the United States. In vol. 1 of Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Times Pub. Co., 1923.
- Rahill, Peter James. The Catholic Indian Missions and Grant's Peace Policy, 1870-1884. Washington D.C.:Catholic University of American Press, 1953.
- Shea, John Gilmary. History of the Catholic Missions Among the Indian Tribes of the United States. 1529-1854,. New York:Kennedy, 1899 FHL film 908268 WorldCat
- Schenck, Eunice L and Joseph W. Snell. Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Isaac McCoy Papers 1806-1874 in the Kansas State Historical Society. FHL book 978.1 H23g or fiche 6101062
- Schwarze, Edmund. History of the Moravian Missions Among Southern Indian Tribes of the United States. Bethlehem, PN: Times Publishing Co. 1923. FHL microfiche 6104001 WorldCat
- Presbyterian Missionary Correspondence. Indian Correspondence, 1830-1895.57 microfilms.FHL films first film 906123
- Jesuit Mission and College Records, 1832-1967. St. Mary's College (St. Marys, Kansas)FHL film 590422 and 940423
- Banker, Mark T. Presbyterian Missions and Cultural Interactions in the Far Southwest 1850-1950. University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago. c 1993WorldCat
- Carriker, Robert C and Eleanore R.Pacific Northwest Tribes Mission Collection of the Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus, 1853-1960. FHL book 970.1 A3c WorldCat
- Jackson, Samuel Macauley,ed. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. New York: Funk and Wagnalls Co., 1909
- Keiser, Albert.Luthran Mission Work Among the American Indians. Ann Arbor, Mich:Xerox University Microfilms, [197?]. FHL film 989479 item 4. WorldCat