The objective of the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest project is to broaden access to new constituencies. It allows K-12 teachers and students and other researchers to have direct access to important source material on the Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures. This online collection represents only a selection of materials on American Indians of the Pacific Northwest in the collections of the University of Washington Libraries and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, and the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane. The criteria for selection are detailed below. The collection of digitized materials is complemented by ten study topic essays.
Criteria for selection of an individual image included the image's contribution to the historical record and the usefulness of the image to K-12 teachers and students. Images that were repetitive or are near-duplicates were not used unless the variations suggest an approach to an historical problem. Photographs taken after 1920 were not included unless copyright or other rights management issues were not a problem.
Northwest Coast images were selected from the University of Washington and Museum of History and Industry collections. Plateau images were selected from the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture supplemented by images from the University's collections. Seven images from the Seattle Public Library and one image from the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma were also included. Some tribal groups are better represented in the digital collection reflecting the uneven holdings of the photography collections of the three institutions.
To complement the photographs, selected primary and secondary source materials from the University of Washington's collections were digitized. Apart from the relevance of the material to the topic, the major criterion for selection of textual material was that it was free of copyright or other rights management problems. (The primary source material was not copyrighted and the copyright for the secondary material is owned by the University of Washington.)
The Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior and six Indian treaties negotiated in 1855 were selected as primary sources. Articles from the Pacific Northwest Quarterly and selected University of Washington Publications in Anthropology provide valuable secondary material for the study of American Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Some additional information about the text selected for digitization follows.
- United States Office of Indian Affairs - Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior
Over 3,800 pages from the United States Office of Indian Affairs Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior from 1851 through 1908 were included.
An effort was made to identify and scan all material relating to the Northwest Coast and Plateau cultural groups. Separate statistical summaries (population, farming, etc.) and lists of liabilities at the back of many of the reports were not included as part of this project. These summaries and lists include information about tribes throughout the United States. The tribes are usually listed in alphabetical order making it difficult to capture only information about Pacific Northwest tribes.
Format of the reports vary over the years, e.g., agent's reports are listed as "papers" in the early years and given number or letter designations. Later reports have separate sections for "schools", "Indian legislation", etc. Beginning in 1907, individual agent or school superintendent reports were not published.
In some instances a full report has been scanned even though it includes text out of scope for this project; e.g., the entire 1853 Stevens railroad survey report was scanned, although some of the text relates to areas outside the Pacific Northwest. Out-of-scope materials were not indexed. Sections of the separate "summar" report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at the beginning of each volume were scanned and indexed if information on Pacific Northwest tribes was included.
All text for Oregon and Washington was scanned and indexed. For Idaho, only text relating to the Nez Perce and Skitswish was scanned and indexed. Text on the Fort Hall and Lemhi reservations in Idaho was not scanned since the Shoshone, Bannock, and Sheepeater peoples on these reservations are not part of the Plateau cultural group. For Montana, only reports relating to the Flatheads were included. Only three reports (1868, 1869, and 1875) include material on Alaskan natives. These reports were scanned and indexed.
- Pacific Northwest Quarterly
The Pacific Northwest Quarterly is published at the University of Washington. It began in 1906 as the Washington Historical Quarterly, and since its inception has featured many articles on Indians of the Pacific Northwest. A total of 89 articles were selected for inclusion. The articles date from volume l (1906) to volume 89 (1998). Selection of the articles was made in consultation with the authors of the study topic essays.
- University of Washington Publications in Anthropology
Twenty-three titles in the University of Washington Publications in Anthropology series were digitized for the project. Only publications relating to the cultural groups included in this project and without rights management problems were included.
Two maps from the Handbook of North American Indians, a Nez Perce legend, an article in West Shore Magazine, three pages of archival material from the National Archives, two articles transcribed from Harper's Weekly, and two transcribed newspaper articles were also included. These materials were identified by the study topic authors to complement their essays. Permission was obtained to include the materials still in copyright.