GUIDE TO CATHOLIC RECORDS ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE UNITED STATES Volume 5: Help Pages: Native Terms

Terms used in this guide, which follow Library of Congress subject headings. Notes regarding archival records pertaining to the Catholic Church are also included.

Cacique: A title for a traditional native leader used by some native communities, nations, and tribes, especially in the Southwest. Chiefs noted in the Marquette Native Catholic guides are alphabetized independently in the Master Index with the title "Chief."

Chief: A title for a traditional native leader used by some native communities, nations, and tribes. Chiefs noted in the Marquette Native Catholic guides are alphabetized independently in the Master Index with the title "Chief."

Colony: U.S. federal land reserved for some native communities in California and Nevada. "(Name) Indian Colony" are the corresponding Library of Congress subject terms, which are found in entries but not the Master Index. Typically Catholic-related records from the corresponding Indian agencies are limited to concerns regarding Catholic missionaries and Catholic schools on lands under their jurisdiction.

Governor: A title for a leader in a native community, nation, or tribe, especially in Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Governors noted in entries are alphabetized independently in the Master Index with the title "Governor."

Government Indian School: Schools administered by the U.S. federal government. Within the guide entries, a number of government schools are known as "[Name] Government Indian School” to clearly distinguish them from Catholic schools. Typically, Catholic records from these schools are limited to concerns by church officials and/or Catholic chaplains regarding religious programs for Catholic students.

Indian Agency: Local U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs offices in native communities are known as Indian agencies. "(Name) Indian Agency" is the corresponding Library of Congress subject term. However, for the sake of brevity, "Indian" is omitted from Agency names both in the guide entries and the Master Index under the heading "United States Bureau of Indian Affairs." Typically Catholic-related records from these offices are limited to concerns regarding Catholic missionaries and Catholic schools on lands under their jurisdiction.

Indian Descent: Denotes ongoing indigenous ancestry in parishes with a history of serving Native Americans where specific Indian identities had ceased or diminished substantially and if ongoing, had lost outside recognition.

Indian Reservation: U.S. federal land reserved for a native community. "[name] Indian Reservation" are the corresponding Library of Congress subject terms used in entries and the Master Index. However, for the sake of brevity, "Indian" is omitted from reservation names both in the guide entries and the indices under United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Typically, Catholic records from these offices are limited to concerns regarding Catholic missionaries and Catholic schools on or near reservation lands.

Indian vs. No longer Indian in Catholic institutions: In the institutional histories, Catholic institutions known or believed to have served at least a few self-identified Native Americans are regarded as Catholic Native American institutions for that time period. Although possibly a minority population, the natives are so noted as follows:

  1. One to four ethnic groups will be identified from in the Master List of Native American Groups.
  2. When more than three native ethnic groups were represented, only the three or four most numerous are identified with the less numerous groups noted as “others.”
  3. When more than three native ethnic groups were represented, without any groups known to have had significant numbers, the groups may be noted collectively as “various.”

    When it is known or believed that Catholic institutions no longer served at least a few self-identified Native Americans, the institutions are designated as “No longer Indian” or “No longer identifiably Indian” in the histories. This happened when:
    1. The Indians moved or were relocated by the government, funding for them ceased at some Catholic schools, or the churches they attended ceased to serve their socio-cultural needs, which happened in some congregations that became overwhelmingly non-Indian; or
    2. It is believed that participating descendants ceased to identify as Indians, which happened in some areas of the Southwest. Where it is believed that Indian identity may have continued internally without outside recognition, “No longer identifiably Indian” is used instead

Individual Native American Groups Terms: Terms such as "Apache" or "Apache Indians" and "Tortugas" (not "Tortugas Indians") denote individual Native American ethnic groups served by Catholic institutions. All terms follow Library of Congress subject headings and are included in the Master List of Native American Groups and the Master Index with other alternative terms included in brackets. Groups are included without regard to U.S. federal acknowledgement but must be indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are not included because their homelands, although within the United States, are considered outside of the Western Hemisphere. However, American Indians in Hawaii are included. Church records about native people may lack identification as such and may be co-mingled with those pertaining to non-natives. When ethnicity is identified, typically the terms employed are those used by the native parishioners themselves.

Mestizos, Métis: These terms denote mixed-race groups with Hispanic or French-Canadian identities and at least partial native ancestry. Although outside the focus of the Marquette surveys, mixed-race groups are identified when Catholic institutions also served targeted tribal peoples. Both terms are included in the list of Native American groups.

Names of Persons According to Library of Congress practice: Some Native Americans are identified according to how they are best known by the general public, e.g. Nicholas Black Elk (Oglala) = Black Elk, Gertrude S. Bonnin (Yankton) = Zitkala-Sa.

Native Catholic: "Native Catholic" is a shorthand term referring to Catholic-related records about targeted Native Americans in the United States. Targeted native groups are clarified under "Individual Native American Groups" and "Native American and Native Peoples."

Native American and Native Peoples: "Indians," "Native American" and "native peoples" are employed as standard broad terms in addition to the Library of Congress terms "Indians of North America" and "Indians of Central America" as it was felt that "native" resonates more closely with the terms "aboriginal" and "indigenous" peoples, which are widely used across the Americas. Groups are included without regard to U.S. federal acknowledgement but must be indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are not included because their homelands, although within the United States, are considered outside of the Western Hemisphere. However, American Indians in Hawaii are included.

Others (composite groups): "Others" denotes Native persons served by Catholic institutions from one or more aboriginal native ethnic groups or tribes that are not identified. Typically the term is used when at least one Native group is identified.

Principal Chief: Title for a leader in a native community, nation, or tribe, especially in Oklahoma.

Pueblo: A Spanish term for "people" that is incorporated into the names of some native communities in Arizona and New Mexico, e.g. “Zuni Pueblo."

Rancheria (or Ranchería): U.S. federal land reserved for some native communities in California, which had used this Spanish term for a small settlement since the Spanish era. "[Name] Rancheria" are the corresponding Library of Congress subject terms used in entries. Typically, Catholic records from these offices are limited to concerns regarding Catholic missionaries and Catholic schools on lands under their jurisdiction.

Various (composite groups): "Various" denotes Native persons served by Catholic institutions from several—usually more than three—aboriginal native ethnic groups or tribes that are not identified.

Archival materials from the Raynor Memorial Libraries


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