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Many tribes in North America have anglicized and non-anglicized versions of their names. As such, terms and spelling frequently vary depending on the author. When referencing a specific band or identified tribe, we follow how tribes refer to themselves on public-facing documents today. In cases where there was no clear precedent, we sought to use the most recognized of the non-anglicized terms. For the three most referenced tribes in this exhibit, we use the spellings: Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi, unless otherwise informed by a specific band or when directly quoting a historical source. (For alternative spellings, see the glossary.)


Due to the importance of names and naming ceremonies in some cultures, when referring to identified individuals we present the individual’s Native name (in use at the time the image was taken) first, followed by any anglicized name. It should be noted that there are often many spellings of the same name, and we use the most recognized of the non-anglicized terms.

Native vs Indian:

There are a large group of terms used to define people known to the U.S. government as “American Indians,” including but not limited to Native American, American Indian, First People, First Nations, and Indigenous. While these words have nuances in their usage, for the purpose of this exhibit we have chosen to use them interchangeably, as a way to highlight that each person in this group self-identifies differently, and that the Clements Library expands no authority on choosing a certain term to define this group.

Historical, Derogatory Terms:

Some of the photographers’ inscriptions and photograph titles include language that today would be considered derogatory or a slur. Such terms are identified by an * and discussed in the glossary. We did not erase these terms in an attempt to educate on their history as well as to facilitate the process of locating these photographs in the Clements Library catalog. We do not use them outside of quoting specific historical documents.