Skip to Main Content

Indigenous Materials in Special Collections

Land Acknowledgement

LSU Special Collections recognizes that our institution is built on Indigenous ancestral land, and acknowledges the communities native to this region. LSU’s official Land Acknowledgement is stated below, and can be found on the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s website.

As a land, sea, and space-grant institution, Louisiana State University and A&M College (LSU) has a responsibility to acknowledge, honor, and affirm Indigenous culture, history, and experiences. LSU is a community of higher learning built upon the traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous peoples. At the heart of LSU’s campus are two earthen mounds, architectural remnants created by Native Americans and predating the pyramids in Egypt. These mounds are believed to be the oldest edifices in North America. Built by a people who were egalitarian fisher-hunter-gatherers, the LSU Indian Mounds were built as a place of gathering over the course of 200 years. LSU recognizes the communities native to this region including the Caddo Adai Indians of Louisiana, Biloxi Chitimacha Confederation, Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, Choctaw Nation, Coushatta Tribe, Four Winds Cherokee Tribe, Muscogee (Creek), Point au Chien Tribe, Tunica Biloxi Tribe, United Houma Nation, and others whose memories may have been erased by violence, displacement, migration, and settlement. As a University, we thank them for their strength and resilience as stewards of this land and are committed to creating and maintaining a living and learning environment that embraces individual difference, including the Indigenous peoples of our region.

How to Use this LibGuide

LSU Special Collections houses hundreds of manuscript collections, published materials, rare books, and maps pertaining to Native North Americans. Materials related to peoples indigenous to Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley are highlighted in this LibGuide, and can be found by searching the LSU Libraries catalog. This LibGuide provides users with suggested search terms and subject headings to aid their research, and is organized by topic: Language, Archaeology, Early Accounts, and Government and Policy. The Indigenous Peoples of Louisiana page contains descriptions, highlighted materials, subject headings, and search terms for users seeking information on specific local tribes. 

This LibGuide supplements the Special Collections catalog, and is intended to be used as a guide to jumpstart users’ research. LSU Libraries’ Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) can be found here

Requesting and Accessing Materials

Browse the catalog using search terms, or narrow the search field to “Subject” to display items tagged with the same subject heading. These subjects are linked in catalog entries, and are useful for finding related materials. This LibGuide provides suggestions for search terms and subject headings for Indigenous materials from our collections. For manuscript materials, finding aids containing detailed descriptions and inventories of the items in each collection are also often linked in catalog entries.

To find materials using the subject headings listed in this LibGuide, follow these steps: 


Begin a new catalog search and type the terms into the "Find these words" field and select "Subject" in the field drop down menu.


If using the advanced search, these terms will be entered next to a drop down option listing "All Fields". Change the drop down menu to "Subject".


If beginning a new search from within an earlier search results, type the key terms into the search bar at the top of the page with "Subject" selected from the drop down menu. 

These subject terms will not be an exhaustive list but will represent the best for each topic. The subject terms are organized to be as specific as possible relating to each topic. Adjustments to specificity can be done by adjusting or dropping the final phrase. For example, "Indians of North America -- Louisiana -- New Orleans." may be adjusted to "Indians of North America -- Louisiana." to see the entire state or "Indians of North America -- Louisiana -- Calcasieu Parish." to see materials only relating to that region. To search by geographic location and topic, attach the appropriate subdivision to the end of the subject search. Such subdivisions may appear as "Indians of North America -- Louisiana -- Language." or "Indians of North America -- Louisiana -- History." Lists of free-floating subdivisions can be found here

Library holdings and item availability are listed at the bottom of catalog entries. From here, users can request materials to view in our Reading Room using the “Request Item” link. In order to preserve our collections for future use, LSU Special Collections asks patrons to follow protocols for the safe handling of materials in our library. A list of Reading Room policies can be found here

Provide Website Feedback
Accessibility Statement