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Native American History and Culture

Library of Congress Subject Headings

On this page, you will find

  • An explanation of the Library of Congress's colonial history.
  • A list of featured articles on the Library of Congress's problematic subject headings.
  • A list of relevant Library of Congress subject headings to search for books by subject.
  • A Library of Congress Classification guide.

Library of Congress and Colonial History

The Library of Congress uses controlled vocabularies and subject headings to classify bibliographic material. These subject headings are standardized, and they are difficult to change. Problematically, the United States' colonial history is evident in the way the Library of Congress has historically classified certain topics. This issue is nowhere more apparent than in its classification of issues surrounding Native American, First Nations', and indigenous peoples' history and culture. 

Currently, the Library of Congress still uses outdated terminology to classify Native American topics and issues. Popular subject headings include

Slowly over time, advocates have been petitioning the Library of Congress to update its controlled subject heading vocabulary to provide an authentic representation of Native Americans' lived experiences. As the transition from older to newer terminology is accomplished, we find many resources have a blend of older and newer subject headings. Newer subject headings include

Decolonizing the Library of Congress

For more information about how librarians and information professionals struggle with the Library of Congress's problematic subject headings, check out the featured articles listed below.

Search by Library of Congress Classification

Browse the Library of Congress Classification Outline to search for ranges of books by subject classification. It provides a guide to the books that are actually in the library's collections. You can search DiPietro Library's print books for the topics that interest you! The ranges listed here are the beginnings of books' call numbers. Below you will find subclass ranges for subjects relevant to this topic.

Class B - Philosophy. Psychology. Religion

Subclass BD - Speculative philosophy

  • BD493-701 - Cosmology, including teleology, space and time, structure of matter, plurality of worlds

Class E-F - History of the Americas

  • E51-73 - Pre-Columbian America. The Indians
  • E75-99 - Indians of North America 

Class P - Language and Literature

Subclass PM - Hyperborean, Indian, and artificial languages

  • PM101-2711 - American languages (Aboriginal)
    • PM231-355 - American languages of British North American
    • PM(401)-501 - American languages of the United States (and Mexico)
    • PM549-2711 - Special languages of the United States and Canada

Subclass PS - American literature

  • PS147-152 - Women authors
  • PS501-689 - Collections of American literature
    • PS530-536.3 - By period
    • PS537-574 - By region
    • PS580-619 - Poetry
    • PS642-659.5 - Prose
    • PS680-689 - Essays
  • PS700-3626 - Individual authors
    • PS700-893 - Colonial period (17th and 18th centuries)
    • PS991-(3390) - 19th century
    • PS3500-3549 - 1900-1960
    • PS3550-3576 - 1961-2000
    • PS3600-3626 - 2001-