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Association on American Indian Affairs Records

The Records of the Association on American Indian Affairs consist primarily of
textual records, with modest but revealing bodies of photographic and
audiovisual material. They represent the work of many hands, both paid and
unpaid, and testify to the durability of the AAIA and the needs which called it
into existence. The activities documented in these Records are myriad and
reflect a complex pattern of relationships, not only within the AAIA itself but
with representatives of governments, tribes, and other organizations. While the
different facets of the Association's work cannot be compartmentalized in any
absolute sense, the series and subseries into which these Records have been
divided highlight broad areas of interest and involvement, such as \Legislation\
or \Legal Cases;\ significant organizational and functional elements, such as
\Administration\ or \Correspondence;\ and the individuality of officers, such as
Oliver La Farge or Hildegarde Forbes, whose personal files relating to the AAIA
have been subsumed into -- though not interfiled with -- the overall collection.
The single largest component of these Records and, arguably, the keystone, is
\Tribal,\ a subseries which documents the Association's work on behalf of
hundreds of Native American communities and its concern with local issues. In
contrast, matters of national scope, including entities with a national
constituency, are to be found in \General,\ a subseries second only to \Tribal\
in size. Researchers can therefore plumb both the microcosm and the macrocosm of
Native American life, as well as charting the links between the two. The picture
of the AAIA formed by the thousands of files which collectively constitute these
Records, contains innumerable brush strokes. Some are disappointingly broad and
some are numbingly detailed, but for the most part they are illuminating: an
invaluable source of insight into the controverted but, as these Records attest,
sometimes constructive relationship of Indians and non-Indians in the twentieth