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Native American and Indigenous Studies


  • Ethnographic Video Online: Indigenous Voices. A collection of over 600 videos related to Indigenous voices from publisher Alexander Street Press. Individual titles are also indexed in the library catalog.

    "The role of the traditional ethnographer is changing as the perspectives and epistemologies of indigenous peoples have taken on central significance in the discipline, challenging earlier representations and implicit “us versus them” constructs. In order to create a platform for indigenous voices to address issues from indigenous perspectives, we have dedicated the third volume of the ethnographic film series to indigenous filmmakers.

    This is the only academic collection in the world to offer such a comprehensive resource of documentaries, feature films and shorts made by and for indigenous people and communities. Topics are simultaneously local and global, with particular emphasis on the human effects of climate change, sustainability, indigenous and local ways of interpreting history, cultural change, and traditional knowledge and storytelling. 

    Content partners include: preeminent artists like Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayesva, Samoan ethnographer Galumalemana Steven Percival, native Hawaiian director Eddie Kamae, and First Nations filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin; distributors such as Vision Maker Media; and organizations like the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Indigenous Film Archive of Nepal, the Mexican Film Institute, and the National Film Board of Canada." [From publisher website].

  • Ethnographic Video Online is a collection of documentary films in streaming video format for the visual study of human culture and behavior. Includes classic and contemporary documentaries from leading video producers in the discipline.
  • Emory also owns many films/videos/dvds related to Native American and Indigenous Studies. These are included in the library catalog, but may be difficult to identify. Search for films like you would for books, but limit the resource type to Video. Contact a Subject Librarian if you need help identifying films on your topic.

A Few Suggested Feature Films

What is an ethnography?

An ethnography is:

  • A FIRST-HAND, descriptive written account of a particular culture or group, focusing on a particular population, place and time, and all with the goal of accurately describing that culture or ethnic group.
  • This first-hand account is produced through participant observation of the culture or group.
  • It can be either book-length or article-length.
  • Really just an approach to writing about a culture/group.

An ethnography is NOT:

  • Produced second-hand from first-hand accounts.
  • Simple opinion or observation reports without an analytical component. Examples of such reports include travel accounts, short newspaper or popular magazine articles, articles written for general readership like those in National Geographic, and letters to the editor.


Finding ethnographies

Where are ethnographic monographs? Are they shelved in a specific place in the library?

Anthropology books about a certain region of the world are often classified with books on that region and NOT in the general anthropology call number (GN). Similarly, ethnographic monographs written about cultures/groups are classified with the books on that country (eg. Africa, DT) or subject (e.g. ethnographies about education will be in the education section).

If they aren't all together in the library, how can I find them?

1) The library catalog - Finding ethnographies in the library catalog:

Ethnographies can be difficult to identify in the catalog because there is no specific subject heading for "ethnography". So, here are some tips for searching for them in the library catalog:

  • Identify the correct name of the group you are researching.
  • The most often-used subject heading subheading for ethnographies is "Social life and customs".
  • Another sub-heading that is useful is "case studies". Although most case studies are not ethnographies, some are. You will have to look at the item to determine if it is actually an ethnography.
  • Try a keyword search with "ethnograph*" in addition to your subject. However, unless the book has "ethnography" as part of the title (and most don't), you won't find much.
  • Do a keyword search combining the name of the group with the aspect of the culture you want to research. Hopefully some ethnographies will turn up. However, the catalog record won't necessarily tell you this and you will have to look at the item to determine if it actually is an ethnography.

2) Search the Anthropology Online database. This is a full-text database of published ethnographies from around the world.

3) Finding ethnographies using the Anthropology Plus database:

Ethnogaphy IS a subject heading in the Anthropology Plus database (which indexes journal articles, book chapters, etc...), so enter your subject terms and the word "ethnography" when you do your search.

Try searching the eHRAF World Cultures database. It includes over 100 full text ethnographies. To find ethnographies in eHRAF, from the home page, click on the BROWSE tab. On the page that displays click on the link to CULTURES and then use either the A-Z INDEX, REGIONS or COUNTRIES tabs to choose a culture group. Click on the culture group in which you are interested, then click on the tab that displays labeled COLLECTION DOCUMENTS. This is a list of ethnographies related to your culture group.