Media Resource

Native American Keywords for Chronicling America

Children in newspaper and magazine library at Carlisle School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Photo caption

Children in newspaper and magazine library at Carlisle School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 

LC-USZ62-71002 (b&w film copy neg.), Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

This resource is part of EDSITEment’s Race and Ethnicity Keyword Thesaurus for Chronicling America. Here you will find historically accurate keywords that may help in using the Chronicling America historic newspaper database to research topics in Native American history.  

We also offer a comprehensive introduction to working with historic newspapers in our teacher’s guide Chronicling America: History’s First Draft

Indian

Related Terms: Redman, Squaw, Eskimo 

Definitions: This term refers to a person of or belonging to one of the Nations of Indigenous Peoples of America. 

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term was Used": This term was coined by Christopher Columbus, who, upon arrival to North America, mistook the continent for India. While it is still used today, this term may be considered incorrect or even offensive. 

Examples from Chronicling America

Gazette of the United-States (New-York [N.Y.]), 15 Jan. 1790. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Indian" in Newspaper

Indian Chieftain (Vinita, Indian Territory [Okla.]), 05 May 1887. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Indian Chieftain Masthead

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it":

“Indion” in Papago Indian News (Sells, Ariz.), 01 Feb. 1958. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Indion" in Newspaper
"Indion" in Newspaper Text

“Inbian” in The Minneapolis Journal (Minneapolis, Minn.), 10 Dec. 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Inbian" in Newspaper
"Inbian" in Newspaper Text
Red Man/Redskin

Related Terms: Squaw, Indian, Eskimo 

Definitions: This term refers to a person belonging to one of the Indigenous peoples of America. 

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term was Used": The color “red” began to be attributed to Native Americans at the time of European settlement, and by the early eighteenth century, it was frequently used and endorsed by “racial scientists” of the time. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, this term began to have an offensive meaning, being attributed to stereotypes of Native Americans in the West. Though there were also usages meant to emphasize Native American pride, such as the Red Power Movement, which was a civil rights movement in the twentieth century.  

Examples from Chronicling America

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]), 14 April 1907. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Red Man" in Newspaper

Montgomery County Sentinel (Rockville, Md.), 05 Aug. 1927. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Red Man" in Newspaper

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it":

“Red mam” in Iowa County Democrat (Mineral Point, Wis.), 19 July 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Red Mam" in Newspaper

 

"Red mam" in Newspaper Text

“Bed Man” in Red Lake News (Red Lake, Minn.), 15 Nov. 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Bed Man" in Newspaper
"Bed Man" in Newspaper Text
Squaw

Related Terms: Redman, Indian, Eskimo 

Definitions: This term refers to a Native American, usually a woman. 

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term was Used": This term, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, was not used with any negative connotation to describe Native Americans, but around the middle of the nineteenth century, this term began to hold a more disparaging meaning. Typically, it refers to a Native American wife or woman. 

Examples from Chronicling America

The San Francisco Call (San Francisco [Calif.]), 16 Oct. 1910. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Squaw" in Newspaper

The Frontiersman (Palmer, Alaska), 21 March 1963. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Squaw" in Newspaper

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it":

“Squavv” in Watauga Democrat (Boone, Watauga County, N.C.), 01 Oct. 1891. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Squavv" in Newspaper
"Squavv" in Newspaper Text

“Squow” in Walla Walla Statesman (Walla Walla, Wash. Terr.), 05 May 1865. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Squow" in Newspaper
"Squow" in Newspaper Text