The KWE Native American Literature Collection

Comprising nearly 1400 unique titles, the Younghee Kim-Wait (’82) Pablo Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection (Eisenberg collection or KWE collection for short) sits at the core of our research and projects surrounding this website. The collection itself, housed in Amherst College’s Archives & Special Collections, has works by Native American authors dating from 1772 all the way up to the present day. The collection contains everything from fiction and poetry to philosophy, tribal histories, and more. The impetus behind the collection “is to document as thoroughly as possible the full spectrum of Native American writing and intellectual life from the 18th century to the present.”

For even more information about the collection, please be sure to check out these articles:


Potential Areas of Research in the KWE Collection

In the model projects on this website, we explored topics such as nineteenth-century Native American maritime history and Iroquois origin stories. However, the Kim-Wait Eisenberg Collection offers many more more potential areas for scholarship that still should be explored:

  • U.S. Print Culture and Native American Books
  • Passing in Native American Literature
  • Printing Zones and Cultural Reception
  • Place and Native American Books
  • History of Book Covers, Author Portraits, Illustrations
  • Religion
  • Children’s Literature
  • Native American Poetry
  • Native American Humor
  • Native Americans and the Environment
  • Charles Eastman and the Boy Scouts
  • Plotting Social Networks and Relationships between Native Intellectuals
  • Constitution and By-Laws of National Council of American Indians
  • Native American Activism
  • Alcatraz Island Occupation, Newspapers, News, Political Movements and Publications
  • Digitized Newspapers relevant to Native American Studies
  • Connecting Native American and African-American Literature/History
  • Black Panthers Publication (Black Power, Red Power)
  • Authors of German heritage, German perspectives of Native American people
  • Native American Fantasy, Science/Speculative Fiction (Example: The Indians Won by Martin Cruz Smith, 1970)
  • Comparing historical maps of Native American Tribes

Some Notable Authors of the Collection

Paula Gunn Allen (1939 – 2008) — Laguna Pueblo poet, writer, literary critic, and lesbian activist. Author of The Woman Who Owned the Shadows (1983) and multiple novels and works of poetry (Credit: Wikipedia – Paula Gunn Allen)

William Apess (1798 – 1839) — activist, minister, and writer of Pequot descent who was a leader in Massachusetts and among the first of Native American autobiographers; his autobiography was the first of his books: A Son of the Forest: The Experience of William Apes, A Native of the Forest, Comprising a Notice of the Pequod Tribe of Indians, Written by Himself (1829) (Credit: Wikipedia – William Apess)

Gertrude Bonnin (Zitkala-Ša) (1876 – 1938) — Sioux writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist; founder and president of the National Council of American Indians; with William F. Hanson, Bonnin co-composed the first American Indian opera, The Sun Dance, which premiered in 1913 (Credit: Wikipedia – Gertrude Bonnin)

David Cusick (1780 – 1831?) — Tuscarora “artist and the author of David Cusick’s Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations (1828). This is an early (if not the first) account of Native American history and myth, written and published in English by an Indian” (Credit: Wikipedia – David Cusick)

Charles Eastman (1858 – 1939)  Famous thinker, writer, and physician of the Dakota people (Credit: Wikipedia – Charles Eastman)

N. Scott Momaday (1934 – Present) — Kiowa author of the 1969 Pulitzer Prize winning novel House Made of Dawn and many other literary works(Credit: Wikipedia – N. Scott Momaday)

Edgar Von Schmidt Pauli — A German author who transcribed the oral narrative of “Big Chief White Horse Eagle” of the Osage people (If you’re interested, you should check out the blog post featuring this author, written by Mike Kelly, Head of Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College

Samson Occom (1723 – 1792) — “member of the Mohegan nation, from near New London, Connecticut who became a Presbyterian cleric. Occum was the first Native American to publish his writings in English” (Credit: Wikipedia – Samuel Occom)

Leslie Marmon Silko (1948 – Present)— Laguna Peublo author of the short story “The Man to Send Rain Clouds” and many novels including Ceremony (1977) (Credit: Wikipedia – Leslie Marmon Silko)

Adolf Hungry Wolf (1944 – Present) — Born Adolf Gutohrlein, this author grew up in Germany before moving with his parents to California;  He “did not simply study the Blackfoot peoples. He lived among them for decades, married into the Hungry Wolf clan and raised his family according to Blackfoot traditions. He came to receive the respect and admiration of many of the tribal elders for his self-sacrifice and devotion to preserving their history and way of life” (Native Voices Books, http://www.nativevoicesbooks.com/content/adolf-hungry-wolf)