GUIDE TO CATHOLIC RECORDS ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE U.S.
Volume 5: Help Pages
Native Terms

These Native terms are used in the repository entries of the Marquette Archives' Native Guide.

Cacique: A title for a traditional native leader used by some native communities, nations, and tribes, especially in the Southwest.

Chief: A title for a traditional native leader used by some native communities, nations, and tribes.

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. 

Governor: A title for the principal political leader of a native community, nation, or tribe, especially in Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

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 in the National Archives and in the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records in the Marquette University special collections, 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 in the guide entries. Typically in the National Archives, Catholic records from these offices are limited to concerns regarding Catholic missionaries and Catholic schools on lands under their jurisdiction.

Indian or Native American 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.

Native vs. no longer Native populations 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. 

Native American ethnographic 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. 

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 or composite groups of Native Americans: "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, New Mexico, and Texas, 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.

 

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