Print ISBN: 978-1-68217-587-3
# of Pages: 256
# of Volumes: 1
Print List Price: $175
e-ISBN: 978-1-68217-588-0
eBook User Price: $175
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Defining Documents in American History: Native Americans (1451-2017)

Editor: Michael Shally-Jensen, PhD
December 2017

Defining Documents in American History series, produced by Salem Press, consists of a collection of essays on important historical documents by a diverse range of writers on a broad range of subjects in American history. This established series offers twenty-five titles ranging including historical eras from Colonial America to the 1970s and significant themes in American history such as Nationalism and Populism; Immigration and Immigrant Communities; and Supreme Court Decisions.

This title, Defining Documents in American History: Native Americans (1451-2017), offers in-depth analysis of documents from the history Americans first inhabitants. This text closely studies thirty documents, beginning with the Iroquois Thanksgiving Address and continuing through the Dakota Pipeline court decision in 2017. The material is organized under four historical groupings:

  • Early Encounters and Conflicts
  • Western Wars and Aftermaths
  • New Lives and Circumstances
  • Recent Developments

These documents provide a compelling view of many important aspects of Native American history, including documents that examine relations between Native Americans and European settlers; tragedies such as the Trail of Tears and the Wounded Knee Massacre; efforts to reclaim or redefine the status of Native Americans including the Native American Graves Repatriation Act and Wovoka and the Ghost Dance. Designed for high school and college students, the aim of the series is to advance historical document studies as an important activity in learning about history.

Essay Format
Native Americans contains thirty documents spanning the arrival of European settlers in North America to the 2017 decision regarding the Dakota pipeline and the potential impact of an oil spill on Standing Rock’s hunting and fishing rights. Each document is supported by a critical essay, written by historians and teachers, that includes a Summary Overview, Defining Moment, Author Biography, Document Analysis, and Essential Themes. Readers will appreciate the diversity of the issues addressed throughout these documents. An important feature of each essay is a close reading of the primary source that develops broader themes, such as the author’s rhetorical purpose, social or class position, point of view, and other relevant issues. In addition, essays are organized by sections, listed above, highlighting major issues of the period, many of which extend across eras and to the present day. Each section begins with a brief introduction that defines questions and problems underlying the subjects in the historical documents. Each essay also includes a Bibliography and Additional Reading section for further research.


  • Chronological List arranges all documents by year.
  • Web Resources is an annotated list of websites that offer valuable supplemental resources.
  • Bibliography lists helpful articles and books for further study.

View a Full List of Defining Document Titles