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New Primary Source Set - American Indian Material Culture

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Published on Fri, 12/29/2017

1885 photograph showcasing Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull
This 1885 photograph showcasing Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull was one of the most popular souveniers sold at the Wild West Show. The photograph creates an opportunity to discuss the stereotypes of cowboys and Indians by examining the clothing and posture

The following primary source set focuses on material culture produced about and by American Indians. The information and materials in the set can be used as a jumping off point for teachers looking to access resources provided by the Library of Congress related to the topic. The subject of American Indian history and culture is generally not emphasized significantly in American history curriculum and classrooms. In many cases, students of American history only study American Indians as they encounter and relate to white settlers, and the vestiges of the US and State governments. Without more focused study on the culture, history, politics, and society of the indigenous first peoples of the United States, a truly holistic history of America is impossible. An examination of the dynamic nature of media and other material culture related to American Indians can provide a small window into the history of the the Native American people and their rich heritage. As US policy and perception around American Indians has changed, so too has the material culture.Students and educators may ask questions such as: Do these changes represent changing attitudes towards American Indians? What can we learn from these images? View more details, and download or access the lesson plan online. Emerging America brings this lesson to you thanks to the outstanding primary sources and materials provided by the Library of Congress.

Karen Albano

History eNews Editor, Emerging America
Karen Albano began working with the Emerging America program in 2015. She is currently the editor of the weekly History eNews, and has contributed to many facets of the Emerging America program, including developing curriculum, improving the accessibility of the website to educators, and overseeing social media outreach.