American Indian Archives and More
The archives include federal Indian records placed in the society's custody in 1934 by an act of Congress. Containing more than 3.5 million documents and 6,000 volumes, the collection represents sixty-six tribes. These tribes either were relocated by removal or are native to the area. These records include a variety of official documents and information relating to tribes in Indian and Oklahoma Territory.
Search the Index
A partial index to the American Indian Archives is now online.
Search the Index to the American Indian Archives
Access to the American Indian Archives
At this time, the American Indian Archives is being reprocessed. The staff and volunteers of the Manuscript Archives are replacing folders and boxes for preservation, updating the online catalog, and working to make the collection more available for research. During this process, we ask that you use the microfilm in the Research Center, as some boxes may not be available for research. A listing of microfilm can be found below. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. If you have any questions, please contact the Manuscript Archives at 405-522-0876 or Mallory.Covington@history.ok.gov.
The Research Division is an affiliate of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These records are part of National Archives Record Group 75 (Bureau of Indian Affairs) stored at the Oklahoma Historical Society under An act of Congress, March 27, 1934, (H. R. 5631 Public No. 133) and through an Agreement with NARA. Additional Bureau of Indian Affairs records for Oklahoma may be found at the National Archives. For more information, see BIA Records: Oklahoma at archives.gov/research/native-americans/bia-guide/oklahoma.html
Records of the Five Tribes
The records of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole date from 1856 to 1906. These records contain primary documentation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well as district and county records. Included are census records, accounts of legislative sessions, court dockets, correspondence, election records, treasurer’s records, materials relating to land allotment and leases, and school records. Extensive information about agriculture, citizenship, education, American Indian-white relations, law enforcement, and a variety of aspects of life in Indian Territory can be found in these documents.
Many documents in the American Indian Archives have been microfilmed. Use the links below to find out what records are available on microfilm in the OHS Research Center. All guides are in PDF format.
Cherokee National Records Microfilm Guide
Chickasaw National Records Microfilm Guide
Choctaw National Records Microfilm Guide
Creek National Records Microfilm Guide
Seminole National Records Microfilm Guide
National Archives Records Microfilm Guide (includes multiple tribes)
The Foreman Transcripts
View thirty volumes of transcriptions of records from the Office of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the Office of the Superintendent for the Five Civilized Tribes, and London Public Record Office. Explore the Foreman Transcripts.
Dawes Commission Records
Of special note are the records of the Dawes Commission, whose primary function was to administer the enrollment of the citizens and Freedmen of the Five Tribes in preparation for allotment of land. Much of the primary records of the Five Tribes is used by individuals researching ancestors who may have been enrolled by the Dawes Commission. Since the mid-1970s new importance has been placed upon the records of the Five Tribes. These records provide the only source for determining tribal membership today.
Dawes Commission Records Microfilm Guide
Teachers’ Reports Index, Dawes Commission Records
Indian Agency Records
The American Indian Archives include federal records of the various Indian agencies established to administer activities among the tribes relocated to the territory during the nineteenth century. These records span the 1860s to 1933.
Individual Indian FilesThese files vary in content from agency to agency, but in most cases, the files pertain to grazing or mineral leases.
Search Individual Indian File index
Indian Agency Records on MicrofilmMany documents in the American Indian Archives have been microfilmed. Use the microfilm guides linked below to find out what records are available on microfilm in the OHS Research Center. The guides also include records microfilmed by the National Archives. All guides listed below are in PDF format.
Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency Records Microfilm Guide
Kiowa Agency Records Microfilm Guide
Includes Apache, Caddo, Comanche, Delaware, Kichai, Kiowa, Tawakoni, Waco, and Wichita Tribes
Osage Agency Records Microfilm Guide
Includes Osage and some Kaw records
Pawnee Agency Records Microfilm Guide
Includes Eastern Shawnee, Confederated Peoria, Nez Perce, Ottawa, Pawnee, Ponca, Quapaw, Seneca, and Wyandotte Tribes
Quapaw Agency Records Microfilm Guide
Includes Cayuga, Chippewa, Citizen Potawatomi, Delaware, Kaskaskia, Kaw, Miami, Modoc, Munsee, Nez Perce, Oneida, Ottawa, Peoria, Piankashaw, Ponca, Quapaw, Seneca of Sandusky, Seneca of Lewiston, Shawnee, Wea, and Wyandotte Tribes
Sac and Fox–Shawnee Agency Records Microfilm Guide
Includes Absentee Shawnee, Citizen Band Potawatomi, Ioway, Mexican Kickapoo, and Sac and Fox Tribes
National Archives Records Microfilm Guide
Includes records for multiple tribes
Also included are records of the Indian schools established in Indian Territory such as Chilocco and Mekusukey Academy. These valuable collections of agency files provide important data as to the day to day operation of agency affairs. Files will include Indian culture, census and annuity, per capita, leases especially cattle grazing and pasture, field matrons, farmers, ceremonies, allotments and customs just to name a few.
Chilocco Indian School
Chilocco Indian Agricultural School was a federal boarding school designed to transform and culturally assimilate American Indians. It was located in Kay County just south of the Oklahoma–Kansas state line. Thousands of American Indian students attended and resided at the school from 1884 to 1980.
An database with more than 17,000 records is available online. Learn more and search the database. Select records pertaining to the school have been microfilmed. To find out about records on microfilm, view the Chilocco School Microfilm Guide.