Information for Tribes

The materials in Special Collections and University Archives include a large amount of material by and/or about Indigenous communities and Tribes, only some of which were donated to us by the Tribe itself. The majority of these collections were developed by anthropologists and linguists and donated here with the intent of making the information available to Indigenous people and/or researchers unaffiliated with a Tribe. We also have older collections consisting of the records of federal Bureau of Indian Affairs employees.

The department recognizes that these materials can be useful to Tribes and that some of the materials are also inappropriate for widespread access or use. We recognize that our staff does not have the cultural expertise or authority necessary to determine appropriate use. We also recognize that archival work is labor that should be compensated. While we have had funding in the past to enable us to hire additional staff with cultural expertise or authority, that funding is dependent on grants or gift funds. So, at this stage of the Protocols Alignment Project we have identified what we, as the existing archives staff, can do to improve our stewardship of these materials. Consequently, we have conducted a survey of collection descriptions to identify collections that seem to have content that pertains to Indigenous communities or Tribes. We have noted which Tribe, community, or cultural group these collections seem to have material on or by.

In addition, we are adapting our research support and acceptance of collection materials to better align with the Protocols.  

If you or your Tribe would like to collaborate with us on this work, please let us know! We can be reached via our online contact form or (Director Kimberly Anderson).

Do you have anything about my Tribe?

We might. Please see the growing list of materials related to Tribes and Indigenous communities.

View the list of materials

Can you help me find information about my Tribe at other archives?

Yes, we can help with this! Please contact us to get started (

Can my Tribe get a copy of these materials?

We recognize the importance of digital repatriation and we are happy to provide copies of collections about or from a Tribe when requested on behalf of the Tribe. If you are not the Tribe's designated representative, please provide a letter of support from the appropriate Tribal officer or office. Please contact us at so that we can work out a timeline together. 

If you are requesting a small amount of items for your own use, no letter of support is required. You can start the process using our Reproduction Order Form.

What do I do if I've noticed that the culturally sensitive status of an item is incorrect?

Please let us know which material it is and what is incorrect about the status using this form. Be sure to select the "The culturally sensitive status of an archives collection is incorrect" option when doing so.