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Grace F. Thorpe Collection

Creator:
Thorpe, Grace F.  Search this
Names:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
United States Indian School (Carlisle, Pa.)  Search this
Abourezk, James G., 1931-  Search this
Seely, Dagmar  Search this
Thorpe, Charlotte  Search this
Thorpe, Jim, 1887-1953  Search this
Extent:
3.5 Linear feet
2,175 Photographic prints
166 negatives (photographic)
27 nitrate negatives
113 slides (photographs)
5 contact sheets
Culture:
Sac and Fox (Sauk & Fox)  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographic prints
Negatives (photographic)
Nitrate negatives
Slides (photographs)
Contact sheets
Place:
Oklahoma
Arizona
Japan -- 1940-1950
Pearl River (N.Y.)
Jim Thorpe (Pa.)
Date:
1900-2008
Scope and Contents:
The Grace F. Thorpe Collection (1900-2008) includes documents, photographic prints, slides, negatives and other materials that encapsulate the breadth of Grace Thorpe's life and work as a WWII veteran, Native rights activist, and dedicated daughter, mother and family member. This includes material from her personal, military and professional life. Series 1: Early Life and Family History (1921-1940) includes materials related to the Thorpe family including photographs of Grace's parents, Jim and Iva at the Carlisle Indian School as well as letters and photographs from Grace as a young girl. Series 2: Military Career and Life in Japan (1943-1950) includes documents, photographic prints and negatives from Grace's time as a Corporal in the Women's Army Corps and her life as a wife and mother in Japan following the war. This series also includes the medals Grace received for her service in WWII. Series 3: Pearl River, New York and Business (1950-1967) contains documents and photographs from Grace's time as a mother and business woman in Pearl River, New York. Series 4: Working on Behalf of Native Americans and Activism (1968-1977) includes documents, photographic prints and negatives from Grace's work with various Native American organizations on economic and civil rights issues following her move to Arizona in 1967. Series 5: Jim Thorpe and His Legacy (1912-1984) includes documents, photographic prints and negatives regarding Jim Thorpe and the work by the Thorpe family to restore Jim's Olympic record and keep his legacy alive. Series 6: Later Years (1979-2007) includes documents, photographic prints and negatives from Grace's life in Oklahoma, her work as an environmental activist, and other activities later in her life.
Arrangement:
This collection has been arranged in six series chronologically based on how the collection was received with minor changes. The Series' include--Series 1: Early Life and Family History (1921-1940), Series 2: Military Career and Life in Japan (1943-1950), Series 3: Pearl River, New York and Business (1950-1967), Series 4: Working on Behalf of Native Americans and Activism (1968-1977), Series 5: Jim Thorpe and His Legacy (1912-1984), and Series 6: Later Years (1979-2007). There is some chronological crossover between Series 5: Jim Thorpe and His Legacy and the rest of the collection.

The physical arrangement of the materials was determined by storage needs.
Biographical / Historical:
Grace Frances Thorpe was born in Yale, Oklahoma on December 10, 1921 to parents James (Jim) Francis Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk)) and Iva Margaret Miller Thorpe. Jim, already a famed athelete and olympic medalist, had met Iva as students at Carlisle Indian School and were married in 1913. Grace was the youngest of four, Gail Margaret, James and Charlotte Marie though her brother James died from polio at a young age. When Iva and Jim divorced in 1923, Iva and the girls moved to Chicago while Jim moved to California to pursue work in the movies. For school, Grace attended St. Mary's Academy, Sacred Heart, in Oklahoma and Haskell Institute in Kansas, which was where her father had attended school.

In 1943 Grace worked briefly at the Ford Motor Company before enlisting in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during WWII. After attending training and graduating from the WAAC Training Center in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia, Thorpe attained the rank of Corporal, and served as a Recruiter for the Women's Army Corps stationed in Tucson and Camp White in Oregon before being assigned overseas to the New Guinea Campaign. From 1944-1945 Corporal Thorpe was stationed in New Guinea, Philippines and Japan. Following an Honorable Discharge in 1945, Grace remained in Japan during the occupation with her husband Lieutenant Fred W. Seely (1918-2008) whom she married in June 1946. She became employed at General MacArthur Headquarters as Chief of the Recruitment Section, Department of Army Civilians, Tokyo, Japan. Both of her children, Dagmar (1946-) and Paul Thorpe (1948-1964) were born during this time in Japan.

Grace and her children left Japan and arrived in San Francisco on April 20, 1950. They lived in Pearl River, New York from late 1950 to the mid 1960s. She first became employed as a Hostess with Welcome Wagon upon completing training in July of 1951 and later became a supervisor, business machine salesperson, and territorial account executive for the Yellow Pages with the Reuben H. Donnelly Corp. earning recognition in Distinguished Sales Performance. She completed a course in effective speaking and human relations conducted by the Dale Carnegie Institute and won a Best Speech Award. In 1967, Grace moved to Arizona where she became involved with American Indian tribes. Grace was appointed Economic Development Conference Coordinator for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)'s 1968 and 1969 conferences. In 1969-1970, Grace joined Native American Activists at the occupation of Alcatraz Island for three months and managed their publicity. She then served as a Congressional Intern from 1974-1975 for Senator James Abourezk. Grace was later appointed Legislative Assistant with the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs and as a Task Force Program and Planning Analyst for the American Indian Policy Review Commission. During this time period she attended—The Antioch School of Law, Washington DC; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Research Fellow), Boston, Massachusetts; University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Northeastern University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. During this time she also began working on the restoration of her father's 1912 Olympic titles as well as other projects to recognize and honor her father.

After returning to her tribal homeland in Oklahoma she became active in tribal affairs and in 1983 successfully restored her father's Olympic record. She also conducted genealogical research on the Thorpe family. Her article "The Jim Thorpe Family' was published as a two-part series in the Chronicles of Oklahoma in 1981. In later years, Grace served her tribe as a tribal judge, health commissioner, and became an environmental activist opposing nuclear waste on tribal lands. She remained active in Native American issues, a matriarch of the Thorpe family, and involved with her granddaughter, Tena Malotte, and her great-grandchildren, Aspen and Huna.

Biographical note provided by Dagmar Seely, daughter to Grace Thorpe, with additions by Rachel Menyuk, Processing Archivist.
Separated Materials:
27 nitrate negatives have been moved offsite and are being housed at the National Anthropological Archives.
Provenance:
Donated by Dr. Dagmar Seely and Tena Malotte, 2015.
Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Rights:
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiphotos@si.edu. For personal or classroom use, users are invited users to download, print, photocopy, and distribute the images that are available online without prior written permission, provided that the files are not changed, the Smithsonian Institution copyright notice (where applicable) is included, and the source of the image is identified as the National Museum of the American Indian.
Topic:
Yellow pages  Search this
United States. Army. Women's Army Corps  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- New Guinea.  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japan.  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Philippines.  Search this
Alcatraz Island (Calif.) -- History -- Indian occupation, 1969-1971.  Search this
Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Grace F. Thorpe Collection, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAI.AC.085
See more items in:
Grace F. Thorpe Collection
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmai-ac-085
Online Media:

Robert Burnette photograph collection

Collector:
Burnette, Robert, 1926-1984  Search this
Names:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973  Search this
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963  Search this
McGovern, George S. (George Stanley), 1922-2012  Search this
Udall, Stewart L.  Search this
Photographer:
O'Neill Photo Co.  Search this
Extent:
149 copy negatives (circa)
Culture:
Indians of North America -- Great Plains  Search this
Dakota Indians  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Copy negatives
Date:
circa 1910-1970
Scope and Contents note:
Copies made from a photograph album compiled by Robert Burnett that appears to relate to three periods. A few photographs dated around 1910-1912 were likely received from Burnett's family and depict family members, ranchers, tipis, and people gathered for White River Frontier Days. Other photographs show Burnette and friends while he was in high school and then in the US Marine Corps during World War II. Many of the later photographs date around 1961-1964, when Burnette was Executive Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians; some of these depict Burnette and other American Indians with John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, George McGovern, and Stewart L. Udall.
Biographical/Historical note:
Robert Burnette (1926-1984) was an American Indian civil rights leader, Tribal Chair of the Rosebud Sioux, and Executive Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians. He is also the coauthor of The Road to Wounded Knee, published in 1974.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 92-45
Reproduction Note:
Copy negatives made by Smithsonian Institution, 1990.
Location of Other Archival Materials:
The National Museum of the American Indian Archives holds the National Congress of American Indians Records, 1933-1990.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.

Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Citation:
Photo Lot 92-45, Robert Burnette photograph collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NAA.PhotoLot.92-45
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-photolot-92-45

Helen L. Peterson papers

Creator:
Peterson, Helen L.  Search this
Names:
American Indian Development, Inc.  Search this
City and County of Denver Commission on Community Relations  Search this
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs  Search this
Extent:
55 Linear feet ((estimated))
Culture:
Cherokee  Search this
Seneca  Search this
Menominee (Menomini)  Search this
Bannock  Search this
Ho-Chunk (Winnebago)  Search this
Dakota (Eastern Sioux)  Search this
Kootenai (Kutenai) [Idaho]  Search this
Diné (Navajo)  Search this
Salish (Flathead)  Search this
Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache (New Mexico)  Search this
Shoshone  Search this
San Carlos Apache  Search this
Coeur d'Alene  Search this
Tohono O'odham (Papago)  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
circa 1944 to circa 1990
Summary:
The Helen Peterson collection includes correspondence, notes, miscellaneous administrative documents, financial records, calendars, questionnaires, notes from interviews, survey forms, copies of resolutions, proceedings, speeches, programs, press releases, printed and processed material, and many other types of documents. Mainly these relate to Petersons's career and special interests between 1953 and 1970. There are also a few documents that concern the organizations which Peterson served for periods preceding or following her periods in office. Of special interest are the materials related to the NCAI, many of which supplement the records in that organization's files. The collection also includes documents that concern a wide range of Indian interests and activities.
Scope and Content:
These papers reflect the professional and personal life of Helen L. Peterson from her birth in 1915 until her 80th Birthday in 1995. Peterson worked for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), 1953 through 1961; the City and County of Denver Commission on Community Relations (CCR), 1962 to 1970; and American Indian Development, Inc. (AID), 1967 to 1970. Peterson worked for the Bureau of Indian (BIA), 1970 through 1985. She was founder of the Church of the Four Winds which started as the Ecumenical Indian Congregation. She was leader of the Church of the Four Winds starting in 1989. She also served as chair of the National Committee of Indian Work (NCIW) beginning in 1980. Peterson also served as chair of the Province of the Pacific (Province VIII) Indian Commission.

Professional materials in this collection include information from Peterson's time working for NCAI, CCR, AID, BIA, Church of the Four Winds/Ecumenical Indian Congress, Province of the Pacific, and NCIW. Personal materials in the collection include personal documentations (baby book, yearbooks, etc.), personal letters, personal photographs, and news articles about her personal life, among other materials related to her personal life.
Arrangement note:
The Helen Peterson papers are organized into 13 Series. Series 1: National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is divided into four subseries; Subseries 1.1: Executive Council, Subseries 1.2: NCAI Conventions, Subseries 1.3: Chronological Correspondence, Subseries 1.4: Subject Files. Series 2: Commission on Community Relations (CCR), City and County of Denver, Colorado is divided into three subseries; Subseries 2.1: Subject Files, Subseries 2.2: Denver Indian Study Project, Subseries 2.3: Jobs for Indians. This is followed by Series 3: American Indian Development, Inc. (AID), Series 4: White Buffalo Council, Series 5: Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Series 6: Religious Organizations is divided into five subseries; Subseries 6.1: Church of the Four Winds, Subseries 6.2: Province of the Pacific (Province VIII), Subseries 6.3: Episcopal Church, Subseries 6.4: Other Religious Organizations, Subseries 6.5: Subject Files. This is followed by Series 7: Organizations, Series 8: Events and Series 9: Individuals. Series 10: Newspapers and Newsletters is divided into three subseries; Subseries 10.1: Native American Owned Newspapers and Newsletters, Subseries 10.2: Indian Related News Items, Subseries 10.3 Religious News Items. This is followed by Series 11: Indian Tribes, Series 12: Miscellaneous Subject Files and Series 13: Personal Materials.
Biographical/Historical note:
Helen L. Peterson, born in 1915 on the Pine Ridge Reservation, was an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux tribe. She attended Chadron State College in 1932, beginning an educational process that included course work at Colorado State College of Education and the University of Colorado. She received a B.S. degree in Business Education from Chadron State College in 1957. In 1935 she began working with the Department of Agriculture's Resettlement Administration, a New Deal Agency. She served as director of the Rocky Mountain Council on Inter-American Affairs at the University of Denver Social Science Foundation and set up the Colorado Inter-American Field Service Program which later came under the Extension Division of the University of Colorado. In 1948, she was appointed as the first director of the Mayor's Committee on Human Relations in Denver, Colorado. As the "Commission on Human Relations," the committee became a permanent part of city government in 1949 transitioning to the "Commission on Community Relations" in 1959. Peterson acted as an adviser to the United States Delegation to the Second Inter-American Indian Conference in Cuzco, Peru in 1949 and in 1953 she was selected as the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), a position she held through 1961. During these years, NCAI experienced tremendous growth, becoming firmly established as a national organization during her tenure.

Peterson returned to Denver in 1962 as the director of the Commission on Community Relations. From 1967 to 1970 she served as part-time executive director to American Indian Development, Inc. She was appointed Assistant to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1970 and remained with the Bureau of Indian Affairs until 1985. Throughout her career, Peterson was an active member in the Episcopal Church and in later years served various Episcopal organizations. She was a chair of the National Committee of Indian Work (NCIW) beginning in 1980, chair of the Province of the Pacific (Province VIII) Indian Commission, and founder of the Ecumenical Indian Congregation. Ecumenical Indian Congress became the Church of the Four Winds in 1989. During that year Peterson became the chair of Church of the Four Winds.

Peterson received many awards and honors throughout her life. In 1955, Peterson was named "Outstanding American Indian of 1955" at the Anadarko Exposition. She received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of Colorado in 1973. She was also the recipient of distinguished service awards from Columbia University, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Congress of American Indians, the White Buffalo Council of Denver, the Multnomah County Commissioners, and the National Institute for Women of Color. She passed away on July 10, 2000.
Provenance:
This collection was received by the National Anthropological Archives from Helen Peterson in June 1987. It was then transferred from NAA to the National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center in 2007.
Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Rights:
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiphotos@si.edu. For personal or classroom use, users are invited users to download, print, photocopy, and distribute the images that are available online without prior written permission, provided that the files are not changed, the Smithsonian Institution copyright notice (where applicable) is included, and the source of the image is identified as the National Museum of the American Indian.
Topic:
NCAI Bulletin  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Helen L. Peterson Papers, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAI.AC.016
See more items in:
Helen L. Peterson papers
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmai-ac-016

National Congress of American Indians records

Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Names:
Arrow, Inc.  Search this
National Tribal Chairmen's Association  Search this
Native American Rights Fund  Search this
United Effort Trust  Search this
United States. American Indian Policy Review Commission  Search this
United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs  Search this
United States. Indian Claims Commission  Search this
Bronson, Ruth Muskrat  Search this
Curry, James E., 1907-1972  Search this
Deloria, Vine  Search this
Harjo, Suzan Shown  Search this
McNickle, D'Arcy, 1904-1977  Search this
Peterson, Helen L.  Search this
Snake, Reuben, 1937-1993  Search this
Tonasket, Mel  Search this
Trimble, Charles E.  Search this
Extent:
251 Linear feet (597 archival boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Videotapes
Correspondence
Administrative records
Financial records
Audiotapes
Clippings
Date:
1933-1990
bulk 1944-1989
Summary:
The National Congress of American Indian (NCAI), founded in 1944, is the oldest nation-wide American Indian advocacy organization in the United States. The NCAI records document the organization's work, particularly that of its office in Washington, DC, and the wide variety of issues faced by American Indians in the twentieth century. The collection is located in the Cultural Resource Center of the National Museum of the American Indian.
Scope and Contents:
The records of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) reflect the operations of its Washington, DC, headquarters and, in particular, the activities and responsibilities of its executive director. The papers primarily cover the period 1943 to 1990, although some documents pre-dating NCAI are present. The bulk of the material relates to legislation, lobbying, and NCAI's interactions with various governmental bodies. A large segment also concerns the annual conventions and executive council and executive committee meetings. Finally, the records also document the operations of the NCAI, including personnel, financial, and fundraising material. Materials found throughout the collection include letters, memoranda, handwritten notes, speeches, press releases, newspaper clippings, publications, minutes of meetings, transcripts, reports, agenda, programs, financial records, legislative materials, photographs, and sound recordings.
Arrangement:
The National Congress of American Indians records are arranged in 21 series:

Series 1 -- : NCAI Conventions and Mid-Year Conferences

Series 2 -- : Executive Council and Executive Committee Files

Subseries 2.1: Executive Council

Subseries 2.2: Executive Committee

Subseries 2.3: Executive Committee: Benefit Awards

Series 3 -- : Correspondence Files

Subseries 3.1: Name Files

Subseries 3.2: Chronological Files

Subseries 3.3: Miscellaneous Files

Series 4 -- : Tribal Files

Subseries 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations

Subseries 4.2: Intertribal Organizations

Subseries 4.3: Special Issues

Subseries 4.4: Miscellaneous Tribal Files

Series 5 -- : Records of Indian Interest Organizations

Subseries 5.1: Other Indian Organizations

Subseries 5.2: Non-Indian Support Groups

Subseries 5.3: General Indian Interest Groups

Series 6 -- : NCAI Committees and Special Issue Files

Subseries 6.1: Alaskan Natives

Subseries 6.2: Policy Conference

Subseries 6.3: Religious Freedom and Related Cultural Concerns

Subseries 6.4: Hunting and Fishing Rights

Subseries 6.5: Natural Resources and Indian Water Rights

Subseries 6.6: Nuclear Waste

Subseries 6.7: Solar Bank

Subseries 6.8: AIMS [American Indian Media Surveillance] Committee

Subseries 6.9: HCR 108 and Federal Termination Policies

Subseries 6.10: Emergency Conference of 1954

Subseries 6.11: Jurisdiction --NCAI Commission and Federal Legislation

Subseries 6.12: Law Enforcement

Subseries 6.13: Litigation Committee

Subseries 6.14: Annual Litigation Conference

Subseries 6.15: Trail of Broken Treaties Impact Survey Team

Subseries 6.16: Block Grants

Subseries 6.17: Health and Welfare

Subseries 6.18: Self-Determination and Education

Subseries 6.19: National Conference on Federal Recognition

Subseries 6.20: Economic and Reservation Development

Series -- 7: United Effort Trust (UET)

Subseries 7.1: NCAI and NTCA Joint Committee

Subseries 7.2: Issues

Subseries 7.3: Legislation

Subseries 7.4: News Releases

Subseries 7.5: Indian Organizations

Subseries 7.6: Inter-Tribal Organizations

Subseries 7.7: Non-Indian Organizations

Subseries 7.8: Tribes

Series 8 -- : Attorneys and Legal Interest Groups

Subseries 8.1: Attorneys

Subseries 8.2: Legal Interest Groups

Subseries 8.3: Legal Services

Series 9 -- : Federal Indian Policy and Legislation Files

Subseries 9.1: American Indian Policy Review Task Force

Series 10 -- : Bureau of Indian Affairs

Series 11 -- : State and Local Government Organizations

Series 12 -- : Census

Series 13 -- : General Alpha-Subject Files

Series 14 -- : Records of Charles E. "Chuck" Trimble

Series 15 -- : Records of Suzan S. Harjo

Subseries 15.1: Indian Claims: Eastern Land Claims

Subseries 15.2: Indian Claims: Statute of Limitations

Subseries 15.3: Conference on -- The Indian Reorganization Act - An Assessment and Prospectus Fifty Years Later

Subseries 15.4: Inter-American Indian Institute (IAII)

Subseries 15.5: Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)

Subseries 15.6: Institute of the American West (IAW)

Subseries 15.7: Common Cause

Subseries 15.8: Office Files

Series 16 -- : Fund Raising

Subseries 16.1: Gifts, Bequests, and Contributions

Subseries 16.2: Foundations

Subseries 16.3: General --Arrow and NCAI Fund

Series 17 -- : Business and Financial Records Files

Subseries 17.1: Personnel

Series 18 -- : "Give-Away" Files

Series 19 -- : Publications

Subseries 19.1: -- News/Sentinels -- and -- Sentinel Bulletin

Subseries 19.2: Other Publications

Series 20 -- : Photographs

Series 21 -- : Audio and Film Recordings
Biographical / Historical:
The National Congress of America Indians, which describes itself as the oldest and largest American Indian and Alaskan Native organization in the United States, was founded on November 16, 1944, in Denver, CO. NCAI was intended to serve as a link between individual tribal councils and the United States government, by defining and helping to crystallize Indian thought on the administration of Indian affairs. The Congress also aimed to educate the general public about Indians, preserve Indian cultural values, protect treaty rights with the United States, and promote Indian welfare.

At the first convention, delegates representing fifty tribes ratified the constitution and by-laws, drafted resolutions determining the direction of NCAI policy, and elected the organizations' first officers, with Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Napoleon B. Johnson (Cherokee) as president. The officers, as well as eight elected council members, formed the Executive Council. The Council chose the Executive Director; Ruth Muskrat Bronson (Cherokee) was the organization's first director, from 1944-1948. "Persons of Indian blood" could join the organization either as individuals or as groups. In 1955, however, the constitution was revised to restrict group membership to recognized tribes, committees, or bands, and to make the Executive Council chosen by tribal representatives. These changes gave control of the organization to governing bodies of organized tribes, rather than individuals. A further amendment that year created a five-member Executive Committee, headed by the president, which had all the powers of the Executive Council between council meetings.

Conventions have been held annually in the fall since the formation of the NCAI in 1944. Since 1977, mid-year conferences have been held in May or June of each year, to allow more frequent and thorough discussion of issues. The resolutions passed at these conventions are the basis for all policy of the Executive Committee and Executive Director between meetings. The conventions are also used for informational sessions and meetings of standing and special committees of NCAI. One or two-day workshops may also be held on special topics or Congressional issues of particular concern.

NCAI created a tax-exempt arm in 1949 to accept charitable contributions and apply for grants, the NCAI Fund, which soon changed its name to ARROW, Inc. By 1957, however, ARROW had split off to become an independent organization, and NCAI started a new arm, again called the NCAI Fund. In the coming decades, the NCAI Fund would obtain grants from sources including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Veteran Affairs, Indian Health Service, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Ford Foundation, humanities councils and others, which they used for conferences, workshops, publications, and other projects.

In its early years, NCAI fought for the recognition of land claims of Alaska natives, the enfranchisement of Arizona and New Mexico Indians, the equitable settlement of tribal land claims, and the right of Indians to select their own attorneys. The NCAI lobbied vigorously for an Indian Claims Commission Bill, which became law in August 1946. NCAI's lobbying efforts on behalf of this act set the pattern for the organization's future role in legislative matters: keeping member tribes abreast of proposed legislation and ascertaining their views, and maintaining a presence in Congress through lobbying and testimony.

Beginning in 1954, the threat of termination pushed NCAI into a period of increased activity. Although some tribes were ready to terminate their relationship with the federal government, much of Indian Country felt threatened by the government's new stated policy. NCAI therefore organized an Emergency Conference of American Indians for February 1954 to protest this new termination policy. An agreement was forged at the conference between the NCAI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work together toward slowly liquidating the BIA. The termination period of the 1950s and 1960s, while challenging, saw NCAI increase in confidence and political acumen.

During the 1960s, a number of other activist Indian groups sprang up and began to dilute the singular influence which NCAI had commanded. Newer, more militant groups often considered themselves at odds with NCAI, which was increasingly perceived as conservative. As the number of Indian advocacy groups grew in the 1960s and 1970s, however, NCAI actively partnered with other organizations, particularly the National Tribal Chairmen's Association (NTCA) and Native American Rights Fund (NARF), on a variety of projects.

Charles E. "Chuck" Trimble (Oglala Dakota) served as Executive Director of NCAI in 1972 until 1977, when he resigned to lead the United Effort Trust, a project designed to fight white backlash to Indian rights. NCAI spent most of the next two years trying to find another permanent director. In 1979, Ronald P. Andrade (Luiseno-Diegueno) joined NCAI and unfortunately found a group that was demoralized and underfunded. He was able to return the organization to good health but left in 1982. Si Whitman (Nez Perce), his successor, remained at NCAI for less than a year.

Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne-Creek) became director of NCAI on May 1, 1984. Prior to taking this postions, she had served as Congressional Liaison for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior during the Carter administration and as legislative liaison for the Native American Rights Fund, as well as working for NCAI during the mid-1970s. Harjo was also an active and published poet, as well as a frequent speaker at events around the country. The National Congress of American Indians was particularly active on Capitol Hill while Harjo was director, advocating for government-to-government status, the Tribal Government Tax Status Act of 1983, repatriation legislation, and economic development programs, among other issues. Harjo was herself very involved in the establishment of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

The NCAI Fund was very successful in receiving grants during this period, although they were chronically short of operating funds. Some of their most active projects during this period were the Indian and Native Veterans Outreach Program (INVOP), Inter-generational Health Promotion and Education Program (IHPEP), Environmental Handbook and related educational seminars, Solar Bank, nuclear waste disposal and transportation information sessions, and voter registration.

For years, NCAI's operating expenses had been funded by the Ford Foundation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). In 1985, the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, opposing the use of Federal monies to support outside organizations, began to block the payment for services due to the NCAI. This created a financial crisis from which the NCAI did not recover during Harjo's tenure, and it became the major issue for which she was not rehired in October 1989.

Following the 1989 Annual Convention, Wayne Ducheneaux (Cheyenne River Sioux) became President of NCAI and A. Gay Kingman (Cheyenne River Sioux) was appointed Executive Director. Their first efforts were focused on recovering the financial well-being of the organization, which meant that less attention was devoted to issues in Congress. One of the successful projects NCAI pursued during the next two years was organization and presentation of the Indian pre-conference of the White House Conference on Library and Information Science, which was held in early 1991.

The National Congress of American Indians is still active today, continuing its work of lobbying, support for tribal governments, and advocacy for American Indian issues.
Related Materials:
Other collections at the NMAI Archives Center that include information on the National Congress of American Indians include:

Arrow, Inc., and the American Indian Tribal Court Judges records, 1949-1999 (NMAI.MS.013) James E. Curry papers, 1935-1955 (NMAI.MS.015) National Tribal Chairmen's Association records, 1971-1978 (NMAI.MS.014) Helen L. Peterson papers, 1944-1992 (NMAI.MS.016) Reuben Snake papers, 1971-1996 (NMAI.MS.012)
Provenance:
The National Congress of American Indians designated the National Anthropological Archives (NAA) as its official repository in 1976. This collection was received by NAA in four accessions between 1976 and 1991. It was transferred from NAA to the National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center in 2006.
Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Topic:
Indians of North America -- Government relations -- 1934-  Search this
Indians of North America -- Politics and government  Search this
Indians of North America -- Social conditions -- 20th century  Search this
Indians of North America -- Legal status, laws, etc.  Search this
Indian termination policy  Search this
Alaska Natives -- Land tenure  Search this
Indians of North America -- Civil rights  Search this
Indians of North America -- Economic conditions -- 20th century  Search this
Radioactive wastes -- United States -- Management  Search this
Trail of Broken Treaties, 1972  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Videotapes
Correspondence
Administrative records
Financial records
Audiotapes
Clippings
Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAI.AC.010
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmai-ac-010
Online Media:

Convention Program

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 6
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1955
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 1: NCAI Conventions and Mid-year Conferences
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref100

[Alaska Natives] Tlingit and Haida

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1969
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1000

Fort Sill (Apache - Oklahoma)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1950-1961
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1001

Apache, Fort Sill (Oklahoma)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1963-1966
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1002

Jicarilla (Apache - New Mexico)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1933-1961
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1003

Jicarilla Apache [New Mexico, RE: Housing]

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1969
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1004

Apache, Jicarilla (New Mexico)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1969-1973
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1005

Apache, Mescalero (New Mexico)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1957-1960
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1006

Apache, Mescalero (New Mexico)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1946-1962
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1007

Apache, Mescalero (New Mexico)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1961-1970
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1008

Mescalero Apache [New Mexico]

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1973-1975
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1009

"HP" (Helen Peterson's) Folder

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 6
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1955
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 1: NCAI Conventions and Mid-year Conferences
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref101

San Carlos Apache (Arizona)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1947-1955
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1010

San Carlos Apache (Arizona)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1956-1961
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1011

San Carlos [Apache]

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1967
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1012

Apache, San Carlos (Arizona)

Collection Creator:
National Congress of American Indians  Search this
Container:
Box 94
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1973
Collection Restrictions:
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
National Congress of American Indians records
National Congress of American Indians records / Series 4: Tribal Files / 4.1: Individual Tribes, Bands and Reservations
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-010-ref1013

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