National Council of American Indians records

National Council of American Indians records

Dates: 1926-1938

This collection consists of the correspondence, personal history, and business papers of both Gertrude and Raymond Bonnin, with the bulk of the collection focusing on Gertrude's activities. Gertrude Bonnin was a central figure in early twentieth century Indian reform, and this collection reflects her intensive involvement. She was instrumental in legislation favorable to Indians and spent a great deal of her time among the Native Americans in an attempt to educate and organize them for greater strength through unity. Althought the chronological range of the collection is wide, the majority of materials date from the period of the National Council of American Indians (of which Gertrude was president and Raymond was secretary), which existed from 1926 until Gertrude's death in 1938. Included in the collection are drafts of her speeches in defense of Native Americans. Many prominent political advocates for Native American rights, voices from individuals on the reservations, and civilians active in the relief efforts are featured in the material, making this collection a unique collaboration of many forces.

  • Extent: 15 boxes (7.5 linear ft.)
  • Creator: American Indian Defense Association. -- Atwood, Stella M.. -- Bonnin, Raymond, 1880-1942. -- Collier, John, 1884-1968. -- General Federation of Women's Clubs. -- Indian Rights Association. -- Montezuma, Carlos, 1866-1923. -- National Council of American Indians. -- United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. -- United States. Indian Claims Commission. -- Wilkinson, Ernest L., 1899-1978. -- Zitkala-S?a, 1876-1938
  • Call Number: MSS 1704
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602;
  • Access Restrictions: Photocopies of Carlos Montezuma letters (Box 2 Folder 2) are for research purposes only. No photocopying is permitted.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Correspondence, personal history, addresses, and business papers of the Bonnins and the National Council of American Indians must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 1704; National Council of American Indians records; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 1704, LTPSC.
Custodial History
This collection was found among the Ernest L. Wilkinson legal papers, which have come to the BYU library in various installments since 1978. Following Gertrude and Raymond's deaths, their papers were transferred to the Wilkinson law firm, which had handled a large number of legal claims involving the Bonnins and then assisted with the probate of the Bonnin estate. These papers are what remains after a member of the Wilkinson staff destroyed many papers related to individual cases and personal correspondence with Indians throughout the country. These materials were transfered from Ernest L. Wilkinson's legal papers in the Lee Library.
Other Finding Aids
Item-level inventory available online.
Subject Terms
National Council of American Indians; Andarko (Okla.); Clinton (Okla.); Concho (Okla.); Indians of North America--Government relations; Indians of North America--History; Lake Traverse Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.); Lawton (Okla.); Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.); Sedan (Okla.); Standing Rock Indian Reservation (N.D. and S.D.); Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation (Utah); Ute Indians; Washington (D.C.); Yankton Indians
Genre / Form
Drafts (Documents); Letters; Pamphlets; Photographs
Appraisal Information
Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (20th century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.VII, 2007).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
National Council of American Indians records
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Megan Furcini
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-07-08T11:41-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Zitkala is the Indian name for Gertrude Bonnin, 1876-1938.

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John Murphy
Curator - 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts