Native American Heritage Month: Research Part I: Getting Started

Any month is important when learning more about personal Native American heritage. November is Native American Heritage Month. The National Congress of American Indians states it’s more commonly “referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.” The White House issued a proclamation about it, as have some states, like my own state of Minnesota. Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation, and it has been shared on social media by him and by our Lieutenant Governor, Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.

During this month, I will be posting some information on how to research Native American heritage. Neither my own paper trail or DNA ethnic estimates show a connection to this rich heritage. However, for the past 30+ years, I have been deeply involved in Native American research for individuals, Tribes, and law firms. The records I have uncovered have given me history, understanding, joy, and sadness. Various records and research steps will be discussed in upcoming posts.

Whether your favorite grandaunt shares that you have Native American ancestry because her grandmother was a full-blood Indian or that your own research or DNA results show this specific ancestry, it’s up to you to determine the specific connection. You may have knowledge of a possible tribal connection and the where and when, but it still needs to be researched. 

For some people, records are easily found and for others, it’s wide-reaching research to put together what will stand as your proof for the connection.

If you are new to family history (genealogy) research, obtaining some knowledge about the steps to take and the records that exist should be first on your task list. Books, webinars, websites, and other items are easily accessible for this education. Many are free. We all need to research in federal and state censuses, newspapers, and vital records (birth, marriage, death).

Genealogy Guidebooks: I’ve blogged a few times about some basic books. Click here for one of those posts. These tell about the basic starting steps and many records and where they might be located.

© 2021, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.