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Indigenous Appalachia

A guide to sources informing the Indigenous Appalachia exhibition

Curating Indigenous Appalachia

Indigenous Appalachia: readings informing the complexities of curating the exhibit

Indigenous people have always created what colonial language labels art. Yet there is no Native word for “art” as defined in a Euro-American sense. Art, as the dominant culture envisions, is mostly ornamental. This is in sharp juxtaposition to a Native perspective, which sees art as integrative, inclusive, practical, and constantly evolving.
 ~  Barbara Ellen Sorenson. Beyond Tradition: Culture, Symbolism, and Practicality in American Indian Art

Indigenous knowledge and data sovereignty

Support for Indigenous knowledge and data sovereignty

Local Contexts from Local Contexts on Vimeo.

Approaches to Native American Studies in higher education

Building a University that Deserves Indigenous Students: A Participatory Design Approach
Scott W. H. Young & Connie Brownotter, Montana State University. April 29, 2021. Recording: Building a University that Deserves Indigenous Students: A Participatory Design Approach (Video, 44:28) Slides (PDF) Indigenous Participatory Design Toolkit “How do we build a university that deserves Indigenous people?” Learn the tools and techniques of Participatory Design for supporting Indigenous students in higher education.


Many historical archives and libraries, including the Library of Congress,

  • include records collected by, and reflecting the perspective of, European settlers rather than the perspectives of Indigenous peoples
  • use descriptions and methods of organizing materials reflecting colonial and post-colonial, dominant power structures
  • preserve historical records for study that
    • present negative representations and stereotypes of the peoples discussed in the documents
    • contain language that may be offensive and upsetting to users

The West Virginia and Regional History Collection

These links go to searchable finding aids for local resources. Materials and assistance in searching the catalog are available in the West Virginia and Regional History Center. 

  • Archives and manuscripts - A search for the subject term "Native Americans" retrieves records of white immigrants to the central Appalachian region. To view these documents and get additional assistance, visit the West Virginia and Regional History Center
  • Appalachian Bibliography section about Ethnicity and Race, African Americans, Immigrants, Native Americans - use Ctrl + f to search for specific terms. 


Outdated language is used in the Library of Congress Subject Headings and is slow to change. 

Examples of old headings include Indians of North America and American Indians. To locate library materials, it is important to use these AND newer headings like Native Americans and First nations of North America

Decolonizing Appalachia

Selected places to explore ways to locate, learn about, and implement methods of decolonizing museum, library, classroom and other institutional spaces