Finding Aid to the Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California Records

Lara Michels
The Bancroft Library
The Bancroft Library
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
Title: Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California records
Creator: Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California
Creator: Collier, John
Creator: Atwood, Stella M.
Creator: Indian Defense Association of Santa Barbara
Creator: American Indian Defense Association
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-A 360
Physical Description: 17 Linear Feet 12 cartons, 2 boxes, 2 oversize boxes, 2 cardfile boxes
Date (inclusive): approximately 1915-1939
Abstract: The records of the Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California, an Indian reform organization operating from 1923 until 1938.
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California records were gifted to the Bancroft Library by the California League for American Indians in 1962.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California records, BANC MSS C-A 360, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lara Michels in 2015.

Separated Materials

Photographs transfered to the Pictorial Collections of the Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 1962.020--PIC).

Biographical / Historical

The Indian Defense Association was founded in 1923 by John Collier, an emerging critic of the federal Indian policies that had taken shape in the wake of the 1887 Dawes General Allotment Act. In 1920, Mabel Dodge Luhan invited Collier, then a social worker and adult educator in California, to Taos, New Mexico, where he observed Pueblo Indian culture and developed a strong interest in its preservation. Shortly after his stay in Taos, Collier was appointed field worker for the General Federation of Women's Club's Committee on Indian Welfare, a position that allowed him both to investigate the living conditions of Indians in the Southwest and in California and to formulate ideas for reforming Indian policy. The Indian Defense Association was founded, with initial funding from prominent women in the Caliofrnia women's club movement, to investigate and educate the public about Indian living conditions as well as to promote government policies that, in the words of the IDA, "would permit the Indian to remain spiritually and physically on this earth" (see founding documents in carton 4, folder 15). Collier and the IDA sought to protect Indian rights to their land as well as their rights to practice their own religions. The IDA would over the course of its existence advocate and lobby on issues relating to all aspects of Indian life in the United States, including land, religion, housing, health, and education. The IDA had its main headquarters in Washington, D.C., where it could be close to the government bodies and agencies that shaped Indian policy. The Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California (with offices in San Francisco) acted as a west coast headquarters. The IDA also had other California branches in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. The California branches were active in issues relating to California Indians but were also crucial advocates for Indians throughout the Southwest.

Scope and Content

The records of the Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California consist of seven series: correspondence, administrative materials, legislative files, publications and publicity, assorted manuscripts, subject files, and clippings scrapbooks.
The correspondence, which is arranged chronologically by year from 1923 to 1938, consists of a mixture of incoming and outgoing letters to and from various officials in the Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California, including a large amount of correspondence to and from John Collier. The correspondence documents all of the major areas of work of the organization and includes some letters from prominent figures such as Mary Austin. Some correspondence from the IDA branches in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles is included.
Adminstrative files include founding documents, scattered meeting minutes, financial records, and other materials. Legislative files document the involvement of the IDA in legislative work on behalf of Indians in California and throughout the nation. The publications and publicity series consists of bulletins written by John Collier about developments relating to Indian policy in Washington, D.C. as well as other IDA publications and press releases.
The subject files, which arranged alphabetically, are a rich source of information on a range of issues relating to Indian life in California and other states during the 1920s and 1930s.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California
Collier, John
United States. Indian Reorganization Act
United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs
Atwood, Stella M.
Indian Defense Association of Santa Barbara
American Indian Defense Association
Indians of North America -- California
Pueblo Indians
Pueblo Indians -- Government relations
Pueblo Indians -- Religion
Pueblo Indians -- Land tenure
Indians, Treatment of -- North America
Indians of North America -- Health and hygiene
Indians of North America -- Social Conditions
Indians of North America -- Land tenure
Indians of North America -- Legal status, laws, etc.


Series 1:  Correspondence approximately 1915-1938

Physical Description: carton 1-3; carton 4, folder 1-14


Folders arranged chronologically by year. Documents within folders, consisting of a mixture of both incoming and outgoing correspondence, are unarranged.

Content Note

Correspondence of various officers and staff of the Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California. A substantial portion of the correspondence is to and from John Collier, founder of the Indian Defense Association and resident of Mill Valley, California. Correspondents include officers of the Washington, D.C. office of the Indian Defense Association; officers of regional offices of the Indian Defense Association of Northern and Central California, including those in Santa Barbara and Southern California; various officers of the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the California Federation of Women's Clubs; elected officials on the federal and state level; and various government agencies. Issues addressed include those in which the organization was most involved during the 1920s and 1930s, including the controversies regarding land (the Bursum Bill) and religious freedom for the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico that prompted the founding of the Indian Defense Association in the 1920s; the investigations into Native American living conditions that led to the Meriam Report in 1928; and the campaign surrounding the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
Carton 1

Correspondence 1915-1926

Carton 2

Correspondence 1926-1928

Carton 3

Correspondence 1928-1933

Carton 4, Folder 1-14

Correspondence 1933-1938


Series 2:  Administrative approximately 1923-1938

Physical Description: carton 4, folder 15-45; carton 5, folder 1-7; cardfile box 1-2

Content Note

Includes some bylaws and other founding documents; sporadic meeting minutes; a number of mailing and membership lists; information about fundraising; a file on the organization's junior auxiliary; and assorted financial records. Also includes a 1926 report on field activities by field worker Alida C. Bowler from a research trip to Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino Counties. Here Bowler explored the living conditions of the Indians under the jurisdiction of the Hoopa Valley superintendency. The report includes photographs of Indians along the Klamath River, Indian dwellings, and the reservation boarding school at Hoopa Valley. Also included in this series is an alphabetical card file of Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California members.
Carton 4, Folder 15-45

General administrative files 1923-1938

Carton 5, Folder 1-7

General administrative files 1923-1938

cardfile-box 1

Card file of Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California members

cardfile-box 2

Card file of Indian Defense Association of Central and Northern California members (continued)


Series 3:  Legislative 1925-1937

Physical Description: carton 5, folder 8-41; carton 6, folder 1-20

Content Note

Materials relating to national and state legislation affecting Indians. Files might include correspondence, copies of bills, and statements and bulletins produced by the Indian Defense Association relating to legislation. Topics include California emergency relief for Indians (1925); the Frear Bill (H.R. 9315, 69th) and H.R. 7826, which sought to subject Indians on reservations to United States criminal law; Navajo bridge appropriation (1926); H.R. 9602 (Regulating Indian allotments); the Swing Johnson Bill (California; 1926); Senator James Frear's call for investigation of Indian Bureau (with letter from John Collier to Senator Robert M. LaFollette, Jr.); Indian civil and criminal jursidiction bills; oil leasing bills; the Lea Bill (1926-1928); the Kahn Bill (H.R. 9497); state versus federal responsibilities; appropriations; S. 1505 (Regulating Indian allotments disposed of by will); H.R. 7963, 69th (creating a United States Court of Indian Claims); Yakima Water Rights Bill; the Wheeler-Howard Bill (1934); and various California legislation. Also included are some IDA legislative bulletins and a typescript of Indian Hearings before United States Senate Sub-Committee, San Francisco, California (November, 1928).
Carton 5, Folder 8-41

Assorted legislative files 1925-1937

Carton 6, Folder 1-20

Assorted legislative files 1925-1937


Series 4:  Publications and Publicity approximately 1923-1939

Physical Description: carton 6, folder 21-46; box 1

Content Note

Includes John Collier's Washington Bulletins (scattered from 1923 to 1932); Allan G. Harper's Bulletins from 1935; other Indian Defense Association publications; statements and press releases; other publicity related materials; assorted press releases from the United States Department of the Interior; and the Department of the Interior's publication Indians at Work from March 1939.
Carton 6, Folder 21-46

Assorted publications and publicity 1923-1939

box 1

Assorted publications and publicity 1923-1939


Series 5:  Assorted manuscripts approximately 1923-1938

Physical Description: carton 6, folder 47-48; carton 7, folder 1-3; box

Content Note

Assorted typescripts of John Collier's writings (3 folders); Leola Snow Gunter's manuscript "The Navaho."
Carton 6, Folder 47-48

Assorted manuscripts 1923-1938

Carton 7, Folder 1-3

Assorted manuscripts 1923-1938


Series 6:  Subject Files approximately 1923-1938

Physical Description: carton 7, folder 4-49; carton 8-10;
carton 7, folder 4


carton 7, folder 5

Alaska Indians

carton 7, folder 6-7

Allotment system

carton 7, folder 8

American Civil Liberties Union

carton 7, folder 9

American Indian Federation

carton 7, folder 10

American Indian Progressive Association

carton 7, folder 11

American Red Cross

carton 7, folder 12

Anthropological and theoretical data

carton 7, folder 13

Application, Workers in Indian Service

carton 7, folder 14-23

Arizona, assorted

Scope and Contents

General; San Carlos Apache; Voting Case; Walapai Case; Hopi; Navajos; Pimas; Navajo relief; Fort Mojave; Apaches.
carton 7, folder 24

Article on California Baskets for American Indian Life

carton 7, folder 25

Associated Charities

carton 7, folder 26

Barnett, Jackson

carton 7, folder 27

Better homes for Indians

carton 7, folder 28


carton 7, folder 29

Bureaucracy a la mode (Joseph W. Latimer), with assorted correspondence

carton 7, folder 30

California Committee on Indian Relief Work

carton 7, folder 31

California Conference of Social Work

carton 7, folder 32

California Department of Social Welfare, Governor Rolph's State White House Conference on Child Health and Protection

carton 7, folder 33-34

California Emergency Relief

carton 7, folder 35

California Indians: Bay District

carton 7, folder 36

California Indians: Butte County

carton 7, folder 37

California Indians: Colusa County

carton 7, folder 38

California Indians: Contra Costa County

carton 7, folder 39

California Indians: Del Norte County

carton 7, folder 40

California Indians: Folsom Prison

carton 7, folder 41

California Indians: Fort Bidwell (William Frazier)

carton 7, folder 42-43

California Indians: Fresno County

carton 7, folder 44

California Indians: Hoopa Valley

carton 7, folder 45

California Indians: Humboldt County

carton 7, folder 46

California Indians: Inyo County

carton 7, folder 47

California Indians: Kern County

carton 7, folder 48

California Indians: Kings County

carton 7, folder 49

California Indians: Klamath River

carton 8, folder 1

California Indians: Klamath River (closing of commerical fishing)

carton 8, folder 2

California Indians: Klamath River, liquor

carton 8, folder 3

California Indians: Lake County

carton 8, folder 4

California Indians: Lassen County

carton 8, folder 5

California Indians: Los Angeles County

carton 8, folder 6

California Indians: Mariposa County

carton 8, folder 7-8

California Indians: Mendocino County (excluding Round Valley)

carton 8, folder 9

California Indians: Mission Indian Federation

carton 8, folder 10

California Indians: Modoc County

carton 8, folder 11

California Indians: Monterey County

carton 8, folder 12

California Indians: Napa County

carton 8, folder 13

California Indians: Owens Valley

carton 8, folder 14

California Indians: Palm Springs leases

carton 8, folder 15

California Indians: Palm Springs

carton 8, folder 16

California Indians: Plumas County

carton 8, folder 17

California Indians: Riverside County (excluding Coachella Valley, Palm Springs)

carton 8, folder 18-19

California Indians: Round Valley

carton 8, folder 20

California Indians: San Bernadino

carton 8, folder 21-22

California Indians: San Diego County, El Capitan Grande

carton 8, folder 23

California Indians: San Luis Obispo

carton 8, folder 24

California Indians: San Quentin

carton 8, folder 25

California Indians: Shasta County

carton 8, folder 26

California Indians: Sherman Institute, Riverside

carton 8, folder 27

California Indians: Siskiyou County

carton 8, folder 28

California Indians: Sonoma County

carton 8, folder 29

California Indians: Stanislaus County

carton 8, folder 30

California Indians: Trinity County

carton 8, folder 31

California Indians:Yosemite

carton 8, folder 32

California Indians: Yuma

carton 8, folder 33

California Indians: Yurock Club

carton 8, folder 34

California Industrical Accident Commission, Louden case and others

carton 8, folder 35

California names and their meanings

carton 8, folder 36

Camp Fire Girls

carton 8, folder 37

Citizenship, Indian

carton 8, folder 38

Civil Works Administration

carton 8, folder 39


carton 8, folder 40-41

Commonwealth Club, Section on Indian Affairs data

carton 8, folder 42

Corporal Punishment in Indian boarding schools

carton 8, folder 43

Data, comparative

carton 8, folder 44-45

Eastern Association on Indian Affairs

carton 8, folder 46

Edgar, Mrs. Bessie

carton 8, folder 47


carton 8, folder 48

Elks Jubilee

carton 8, folder 49

Enrollment, California Indians

carton 8, folder 50

Ethnology, Indian

carton 8, folder 51

Fee-patent Indians

carton 8, folder 52

Hagerman, Herbert J.

carton 8, folder 53


carton 8, folder 54


carton 8, folder 55

Illegal leases and Indian land

carton 8, folder 56


carton 8, folder 57

Incorporation of Indians

carton 8, folder 58

Indians and War

carton 9, folder 1

Indian Arts and Crafts

carton 9, folder 2-6

Indian Board of Cooperation

carton 9, folder 7

Indian Ceremonials

carton 9, folder 8

Indian Land, executive order reservations

carton 9, folder 9

Indian names and meanings

carton 9, folder 10

Indian Rights Association

carton 9, folder 11

Indian wealth

carton 9, folder 12

Indian Welfare Association

carton 9, folder 13

Indian work: assorted organizations

carton 9, folder 14


carton 9, folder 15-16

King resolution, clippings and copy of speech

carton 9, folder 17

Lake Mohonk Conference on the Indian (1929)

carton 9, folder 18

Lee, Ivy

carton 9, folder 19


carton 9, folder 20

Los Angeles Saturday Night

carton 9, folder 21

Maintou masks

carton 9, folder 22


carton 9, folder 23


carton 9, folder 24

Merritt questionaire

carton 9, folder 25-26


carton 9, folder 27-36

Montana, various

Scope and Contents

Fort Peck Reserve; Blackfeet (5 folders); Flathead Power Scheme (2 folders); Crow Agency.
carton 9, folder 37

Music, Indian

carton 9, folder 38

Nancy Jack estate

carton 9, folder 39

National League of Justice for the American Indian

carton 9, folder 40-42


carton 9, folder 43-44


carton 9, folder 45

New Mexico Association of Indian Affairs

carton 9, folder 46-47

New York

carton 9, folder 48

North Dakota

carton 9, folder 49

Oakland Forum

carton 9, folder 50-52


carton 9, folder 53

Oklahoma Arts and Crafts Project

carton 10, folder 1-2

Oregon (including Klamath)

carton 10, folder 3


carton 10, folder 4

Power Trust material

carton 10, folder 5

Progressive education

carton 10, folder 6

Pueblo Indians: economic conditions (1922-1923)

carton 10, folder 7

Pueblo Indians: Bursum Bill clippings

carton 10, folder 8-14

Pueblo Indians: land fight (1923-1932)

carton 10, folder 15

Pueblo Indians: Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, letters, circulars, etcetera

carton 10, folder 16

Pueblo Indians: El Palacio (magazine published by the Museum of New Mexico and School of American Research; 1922-1925)

carton 10, folder 17-25

Pueblo Indians: Religious liberty (1924-1926)

carton 10, folder 26

Pueblo Indians: Religious education controversy

carton 10, folder 27-32

Pueblo Indians: Middle Rio Grande Conservancy

carton 10, folder 33-35

Pueblo Indians: Council of All the Pueblos, meetings, declarations, etcetera (1924-1933)

carton 10, folder 36-39

Pueblo Indians: visit to California (1925)

carton 10, folder 40

Pueblo Indians: IDA Pueblo Fund renewals

carton 10, folder 41

Pueblos, Alcoma

carton 10, folder 42

Pueblos, Cochiti

carton 10, folder 43

Pueblos, Isleta

carton 10, folder 44

Pueblos, Jemez

carton 10, folder 45

Pueblos, Laguna

carton 10, folder 46

Pueblos, Santa Clara

carton 10, folder 47

Pueblos, Santa Domingo

carton 10, folder 48

Pueblos, San Ildefonso

carton 10, folder 49

Pueblos, San Juan

carton 10, folder 50

Pueblos, Taos

carton 10, folder 51

Pueblos, Tesuque

carton 10, folder 52

Pueblos, Zuni Agency

carton 10, folder 53

Reimbursable debt

carton 10, folder 54-55

Religion, general

Box 2, folder 1

Salt Lake City

Box 2, folder 2

Shewano powerplant site (1928)

Box 2, folder 3

Submarginal land purchase

Box 2, folder 4

Ukiah medicine men case (1929)

Box 2, folder 5

Volunteer Relief for Destitute Indians (1930-1931)

Box 2, folder 6


Box 2, folder 7

Washington (state)

Box 2, folder 8

White Bird and the War Paint Club (Hollywood)

Box 2, folder 9

White Elk (Louis Dillon)

Box 2, folder 10

White Horse Eagle

Box 2, folder 11-13


Box 2, folder 14

Wigwam Club of America

Box 2, folder 15


Box 2, folder 16

Young Women's Christian Association, Oakland Branch

Box 2, folder 17



Series 7:  Clippings Scrapbooks 1923-1929

Physical Description: oversize box 1-2
oversize-box 1

Clippings scrapbook 1923-1927

oversize-box 2

Clippings scrapbook (and some cartoon drawings) 1929