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Elements of Christian Teaching, or a Short Sacred History and a Short Christian Catechism
Ioann Veniaminov (1797-1879) was a Russian Orthodox priest who in 1823 volunteered to go to Alaska as a missionary. Settling with his wife and family in Unalaska, he built a church and school and began his lifelong task of studying the native languages of the region. With the help of the Aleut chief Ivan Pan'kov, Veniaminov invented an alphabet for the Unangan (Aleut) language which he used to translate religious and educational material from Russian. This book, from the collections of the National Library of Russia, was first translated ...
“Shipwrecked” by Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, and the Description of the Journey Which he Made Through Florida with Panfilo de Narvaez
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1490-1560) was second in command of an expedition led by Pánfilo de Narváez (1478-1528) that left Spain in June 1527 with five ships and 600 men with the mission of establishing a colony in “Florida.” The expedition suffered storms, desertions, disease, and other difficulties in the Caribbean. On November 5 and 6, 1528, 80 surviving members of the expedition were shipwrecked on or near Galveston Island, Texas. After living among the local Native Americans for six years, Cabeza de Vaca and three other survivors headed ...
Osceola of Florida, Drawn on Stone by Geo. Catlin, from his Original Portrait
Osceola was a Seminole war chief who led the resistance to the campaign by U.S. federal troops to forcibly resettle his tribe to territory west of the Mississippi River. Known as the Second Seminole War (1835-42), this was one of the most destructive campaigns by federal authorities against American Indians. Despite outnumbering the Seminoles ten to one, the U.S. troops failed to secure a quick victory. They then turned to desperate measures and deception, including capturing and imprisoning Osceola under the pretence of negotiating a truce. The American ...
The Western part of New France, or Canada, Done by Mr. Bellin, Royal Marine Engineer, in Order to Further Understanding of Present-Day Political Matters in America
This detailed map of the Great Lakes region of western “New France” by Jacques Nicolas Bellin was published by the Heirs of Homan in 1755, shortly before the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War, the conflict that resulted in the transfer of New France to British hands. Bellin was just one representative of a greater movement by French royal and military cartographers in the 18th century to map New France using the knowledge possessed by Native Americans. This map shows details not only of the Canadian waterways, but also of ...
Pow-Wow Princess Song
This song in the Omaha language was performed at the 1983 Omaha Tribal Pow-Wow in Macy, Nebraska, and was recorded by Carl Fleischhauer, an American folklife specialist at the Library of Congress. It was sung in honor of the 1983 Omaha Pow-Wow Princess, Melanie Parker. The song can be translated as, "I'm coming, I'm coming to you. Stand up when you see me coming, bringing something good to you." Each year a young woman is chosen as princess to serve the powwow committee and the Omaha community as ...
Instructions of the Route to the Heavenly Kingdom: A Sermon
Father Ioann Veniaminov (1797-1879) was the greatest of the Russian Orthodox missionaries to Alaska. A man of enormous linguistic talents, Veniaminov created an alphabet for the Unangan (Aleut) language and, with the help of the Aleut chief Ivan Pan'kov, wrote and published in 1834 an Aleut catechism, the first book published in an Alaskan native language. As Bishop Innokentii, Veniaminov encouraged the study of Tlingit and a variety of Aleut-Eskimo dialects such as Atkan and Central Yup'ik. This work, published in Moscow in 1840, contains religious teachings by ...
The Special Features of French Antarctica, Otherwise Called America, and of Several Lands and Islands Discovered in Our Time
André Thevet (1516/17-92) was a Franciscan friar who traveled widely and, through his writings, helped to establish cosmographie--as geography was called at the time--as a science in 16th-century France. After making trips to Africa and the Middle East in the 1540s, he was appointed chaplain to the expedition of Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon, which set out from Le Havre in May 1555 to establish a colony in Brazil. The expedition landed near present-day Rio de Janeiro in November of the same year. In January 1556, Thevet fell ill ...
"Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park," Colorado (Vertical Orientation) by Ansel Adams
In 1941 the U.S. National Park Service commissioned noted photographer Ansel Adams (1902-84) to create a photographic mural for the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, DC. The theme was to be nature as exemplified and protected in the national parks and national monuments of the United States. The project was halted because of World War II and never resumed. The holdings of the Still Picture Branch of the U.S. National Archives include 226 photographs taken for this project, most of them signed and captioned by Adams ...
Treaty Between the Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot, and Potawatomi Indians
This document, also known as the Treaty of Detroit, was signed on November 17, 1807, by William Hull, governor of the territory of Michigan, and the chiefs, sachems, and warriors of four Indian tribes, the Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot, and Potawatomi. Under its terms, the tribes ceded to the United States a tract of land comprising roughly the southeast quarter of the lower peninsula of Michigan and a small section of Ohio north of the Maumee River. The tribes retained small tracts of land within this territory. Until Congress abolished the ...
Esquimos Selling Their Fur Dolls
This photograph of an Eskimo woman displaying traditional craft items is from the state of Alaska, in the United States. Eskimos are the main indigenous people of the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Siberia. They also are known by their own word for themselves, Inuit, which means “people.” The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by ...
Esquimo Dancers Highlighting Fur Rendezvous
This photograph of male and female Eskimo dancers is from the state of Alaska in the United States. Eskimos are the main indigenous people of the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Siberia. They also are known by their own word for themselves, Inuit, which means “people.” The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers ...
Concerning the Savages, or, the Voyage of Samuel Champlain, from Brouage, Made in New France in 1603...
This book is an account of Champlain’s first voyage to New France, or Canada, in 1603. Amyar de Chastes, the governor of Dieppe, received from King Henry IV of France a grant of land in Canada, and asked Champlain to accompany him on a voyage to explore the territory. The expedition left Honfleur on March 15, 1603, and reached Tadoussac after a 40-day Atlantic crossing. Champlain first explored some 50-60 kilometers up the Saguenay River. He then proceeded up the Saint Lawrence River to near present-day Montreal. He returned ...
This portrait, taken in January 1989, is of Addie Billie, a member of the Seminole tribe of Florida, in old age. As a younger woman, Billie had campaigned to improve the quality of life of the Mikasuki-Seminoles. Today’s Seminoles are the descendants of Native Americans who may have lived for millennia in the southeastern United States. Seminole culture was firmly established in Florida by the 1800s, but it was also threatened by the newly created United States, which desired the removal of Seminole peoples from the territory. The Seminoles ...
Seminole Josie Billie with Family and Dog
This photograph, taken in the Big Cypress Swamp in Florida near Deep Lake in April 1921, depicts Josie Billie and his family. Born on December 12, 1887, Billie was the son of the first Indian to receive a formal education in Florida. A Seminole medicine man and long-time public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles, Billie was also a Baptist minister. He was a frequent participant in the Florida Folk Festival and lived on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Hendry County until his death in 1980. The image is ...
Scenes of the Everglades
Businessman and adventurer Homer Augustus Brinkley produced this film in 1928 after living for several months among the Seminole Indians in the Everglades. He later used the film in a traveling show that featured a live, caged bear and himself dressed as a Seminole. Photographed by William B. Feeland, the film contains some of the earliest moving footage of the Seminole. Beginning with panoramic shots of vegetation, waterways, and abandoned structures, the film includes footage of wildlife, such as an owl, raccoons, water moccasins, alligators, deer, a wild turkey, and ...
Ross Allen Reptile Institute
E. Ross Allen was a pioneer promoter and theme-park entrepreneur who achieved national and international fame for his animal wrestling. Born in 1908 in Pittsburgh, he was an Eagle Scout as a boy and later a stand-in for Johnny Weismuller in the Tarzan movies. He transformed the historic, natural tourist attraction of Silver Springs into a prototype of modern theme parks. Ross Allen’s Reptile Institute opened in 1929 and catered to Florida traditions (and mythology) while employing Florida residents, including Seminole Indians. The institute later shifted its emphasis a ...
Traditional Seminole Song - Rev. Josie Billie
Josie Billie was a member of the Florida Seminole people who lived his entire life on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Hendry County, Florida. Born December 12, 1887, Josie Billie was the son of Connie Pajo, also known to Floridians as Billie Cornpatch, the first Indian to receive a Western education in Florida. A Seminole medicine man and long-time public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles, Billie later continued his medical work as an herbalist and became a Baptist minister. He was a frequent participant in the Florida Folk Festival ...
Description of New Netherland (as it is Today)
This book, published in Amsterdam in 1655, is one of the most important sources for the study of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Adriaen van der Donck was trained as a lawyer at Leiden University. In 1641–43, he worked at the vast patroonship (estate) of Rensselaerswijck, surrounding present-day Albany, New York. He then applied for and received from the West India Company his own grant of land, a large tract located just north of Manhattan in present-day Westchester County, New York. (The city of Yonkers takes its name ...
Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley
Early in the 19th century, as wagon trains streamed into the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, settlers came upon vast numbers of abandoned earthworks that they attributed to a sophisticated race of long-gone mound builders. Giving rise to often-loaded questions about human origins, the mounds and the artifacts found within them became the focus of early American efforts toward a science of archaeology. Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (1848) was the first major work in the nascent discipline as well as the first publication of the newly established Smithsonian Institution ...
The New and Unknown World: or Description of America and the Southland
This monumental work by the Dutch writer Arnoldus Montanus (1625?-83) reflects the fascination of 17-th century Europe with the New World. Montanus was a Protestant minister and headmaster of the Latin School in the town of Schoonhoven. He wrote books on church history, theology, the history of the Low Countries, and the peoples and cultures of the Americas and Australia. (The “Southland” in the title of his book refers to the recently-discovered Australia.) Montanus never visited the New World and his work contains numerous errors and fantastic conceptions about ...
Map of Belcher Islands
This map is the central object in the story of how geographical knowledge was passed from an Inuk man named Wetalltok to a non-native explorer. In an article in the Geographical Review in 1918, Robert J. Flaherty (1884–1951) recounted the story of how, while he was searching for iron ore deposits on the east coast of Hudson Bay, Canada, Wetallok explained the intricacies of the bay’s island system and shared with him this remarkably accurate Eskimo map, which Flaherty reproduced in the article. Flaherty later became a director ...