Olson Library Home Page Visit NMU's Home Page Olson Library Home Page Visit the NMU Home Page MyNMU EduCat


EN 314 Traditional Oral Literatures:
Selected Native American Cultures

Professor Melissa Hearn

Library Resource Guide

Locating Traditional Native American Stories (Primary Sources)

Library Catalog
The following subject headings are helpful for locating traditional native american stories.

  • Indians of North America Folklore
  • Indians of North America Legends
  • Storytelling United States
  • Indian Mythology

You can also search Folklore or Legands and the name of a particular tribe.
      Example: Ojibwa Indians Legends -or- Hopi Indians Folklore

Also search for individual authors
      Example: Black Elk or Blacksnake or Lame Deer or Black Hawk

Finally, browsing the book collection on the 3rd floor in the E 98 and E 99 call number range is a very effective method given the limitations of the library catalog. A number of Native autobiographies are located in the E 90 section also.

Historical and Cultural Information Sources (Secondary Sources)

Handbook of North American Indians
Reference Collection: E 76.2 .H36
Published by the Smithsonian Institution, this multi-volume set provides scholarly articles addressing the cultural aspects of numerous native tribes.

Encyclopedia of North American Indians
Also available in the Reference Collection: E 76.2 .E53

A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples
Reference Collection or 3rd Floor Books: E. 76.2 .P75

Handbook of the Indians of Canada
Reference Collection: E 78 .C2 H6

Library Catalog
Search the library catalog by individual tribe names (algonquian indians, etc.). Be sure to select the Library of Congress Subject Headings button before conducting your search. You call also browse the book collection on the third floor of the library under the E 76, E 77, & E78 call number sections (Indian tribes and cultures).

Literary Criticism Information Sources (Secondary Sources)

Native North American Literature (Gale)
Reference Collection: PS 508 .I5 N38
70 Native American authors are covered by this source, including a section on oral literature.  Provides a brief biography, list of works (since 1994), excerpts of various criticisms, and a short list of additional sources for further study.  Another good source for selecting an author/work to read.

MLA International Bibliography (1926-present)
The premier index to scholarly publications in the field of literature.

Google Scholar
Search for scholarly literature including peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, and books. Google Scholar is also a great tool for finding other articles related to one's you already have. Search for the title of an article you have and click the "Cited by" link to see other articles related to this one.

Library Catalog
Select the Library of Congress Subject Heading search button and enter the authors last name first (ex. Blacksnake, Governor).  Look for titles of individual works (Black Elk -- Black Elk Speaks) as well as the main entry for an author.

Borrowing Materials From Other Libraries

Interlibrary Loan allows you to obtain materials not owned by the Olson Library.  Materials such as books and periodical articles, among other sources, can be borrowed from other libraries.  The average time to receive requested materials is 1-2 weeks and you will be notified by email when your items arrive.

MLA Style Guide

MLA Style Guide
Examples of how to cite some of the more common sources, including web sites and online articles, according to the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.  Consult the Handbook in the library reference collection for sources not listed at this site.
Reference Collection: LB 2369 .G53.

Need Further Assistance?

Contact the Reference Desk through the live chat service or by phone at 227-2294. Or stop by in person during open hours.

Library Hours
Mon: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tue: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Wed: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
For exceptions and full year hours