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Native American & Indigenous Peoples

Resources for the study of American Indians


Welcome to the Native American & Indigenous Peoples guide.

Land Acknowledgement

The following land acknowledgement is from the UNT Pride Alliance, which was written in partnership with the UNT Native America Student Association (NASA).

Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory we reside on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long existing history that has brought us to reside on the land, and to seek to understand our place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol. We would like to open our event today by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the occupied/unceded/seized territory of the Wichita and Caddo Affiliated Tribes. These tribes have stewarded this land throughout the generations and we would like to pay our respects to elders, both past and present.

Native American Studies Research Guide

Native American studies investigate the history and culture of indigenous peoples of the Americas. Native American people, or American Indians, belong to hundreds of different cultures, societies, and language groups; the broad category Native American frequently will be merely a starting point for research into specific Native American groups, nations, tribes, or individuals. The focus of most Native American studies frequently falls into the subject area of Indians of North America; this guide points to resources on indigenous peoples from the entire western hemisphere when appropriate information is available.

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Connect with the UNT Native American Student Association


Common Terms in Native American & Indigenous Studies

Words matter and show understanding.

There is terminology that should and shouldn't be used when discussing or referring to Native Americans. This a very short list of frequently used terminology.

American Indian or Native American

According to the Native American Journalism Association, either is acceptable when referring to two or more people with different tribal affiliations. 

Indian Country

Indian Country is legally defined in Title 18 of the U.S. Code as any land within the limits of an Indian reservation, all independent Indian communities within U.S. borders, and all Indian allotments. It is also used to describe any Native-occupied space. The National Congress of American Indians offers, "[w]hen used appropriately, Indian Country takes on a powerful meaning, legally and symbolically, for all tribal nations. Indian Country is wherever American Indian spirit, pride, and community are found." 


Many organizations offer definitions of Indigenous or Indigenous peoples -- the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Health Organization. The Native American Journalism Association reminds writers to capitalize the I when referring to Indigenous peoples or nations to distinguish from informal uses of indigenous plants. animals, or flowers. 

Federally Recognized Tribe

Per the U.S. Justice Department, "Recognition" is a legal term meaning that the United States recognizes a government-to-government relationship with a Tribe and that a Tribe exists politically in a "domestic dependent nation" status. Federally-recognized Tribes possess certain inherent powers of self-government and entitlement to certain federal benefits, services, and protections because of the special trust relationship.

Currently there are 574 federally recognized tribes. In addition, there are tribes that are recognized by states that may not be federally recognized. The National Council of State Legislatures provides a list of federally and state recognized tribes

Tribal Sovereignty

Tribal sovereignty refers to Native American rights to self govern. The National Congress of American Indians offers information about tribal governance

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