For Kids

American Indian Histories and Cultures

10/23/2019 | U.S. History

Edward S. Curtis was an American photographer born in 1868. His specialty was taking pictures of the American West and Native Americans. He had a vision to document as much Native American tradition and culture as he could before their way of life disappeared. In Native Nations you will learn about Curtis's life, but also learn about how he became interested in documenting the lives of the people he saw and why he felt it was so important to capture these images.

Thank goodness he did! The book includes many of his photographs. These are not re-enactments. These are not models or actors dressed in traditional clothes. These are photographs taken of real people in the actual time period. The images capture what a person would have seen at the time with his or her own eyes. Curtis was a photo-journalist long before anyone thought to use that term. Listed below are more websites and books to help you learn about the histories and cultures of American Indians.Cradle-Board

To give you a start looking at what their life was like, you can look at some historical artifacts like this cradleboard which is part of the collection of Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Cradleboard - "Native American mothers, aunts, and grandmothers demonstrated their love and hope for infants by creating elaborately decorated cradle covers or cradleboards."

Websites, Activities & Printables:

US History in Context Logo

U.S. History in Context: Native Americans is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Login using your IndyPL library card number. It will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about Native Americans.

Novelist K-8 Logo

NoveList K-8: Stories about Native Americansis a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Login using your IndyPL library card number. Novelist will show you fiction chapter books and picture books you can read about Native Americans. Click on “Check the Library Catalog” to see if IndyPL has the book.


Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books at any of our locations, or check out e-books and e-audiobooks from home right to your device. Need help? Call or ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or text a librarian at 317 333-6877.

IndyPL Librarian List: Picture Books by Native Authors - Consider supplementing your Thanksgiving reading with these great books recommended by AICL (American Indians in Children's Literature) IndyPL_KristiO

25 Books for Kids about the Histories and Cultures of American Indians

Explore the history, customs, art, and storytelling of American Indians. Learn about legendary leaders, get ideas for projects and hear some trickster tales. #indyplkids IndyPL_CarrieW

Exploring the Life, Myth, and Art of Native Americans

Zimmerman, Larry J.

Describes the history, mythology, life, art, and religious ceremonies of Native American tribes of North America.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Robertson, Robbie

Hiawatha, a Mohawk, is plotting revenge for the murder of his wife and daughters by the evil Onondaga Chief, Tadodaho, when he meets the Great Peacemaker, who helps him instead bring the nations together in unity rather than war.

Crossing Bok Chitto

A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom

Tingle, Tim

A story from the 1800s in which a Choctaw girl becomes friends with a slave boy from a plantation. When she finds out that his family is in trouble, she helps them cross to freedom.

Indiana Books & WebsitesFocus on Indiana:

The Miami, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Mascoutens, Delaware (Lenape), Shawnee were some of the Native Americans that lived in Indiana before settlers came here. One of the most well-known Native Americans from Indiana is the Miami Chief, Little Turtle. The websites and books below will help you learn more about Native Americans who lived in Indiana.

Indiana Books: