University of New Mexico

Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections (CSWR)

University of New Mexico Libraries


The Doris Duke Collection at the University of New Mexico (UNM) is titled the American Indian Oral History Collection. The collection at the University of New Mexico contains over 700 recorded tapes and transcripts of interviews from various Indigenous Nations with most recordings in this collection from southwest tribes. The interviews were conducted by the history and anthropology departments of UNM between the years 1967-1972. The original reel-to-reel audio tapes and transcripts have since been digitized and made available for research at the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections.

The majority of the oral history recordings in the American Indian Oral History Collection are from members of the Navajo Nation with a total of 342 interviews. Recordings from Dine’ tribal members include noted political and cultural leaders sharing important knowledge and matters. Also included are recordings of chapter, council and educational meetings conducted on the Navajo Nation. Dine’ individuals provide recounts of cultural stories, Dine’ history with the United States, boarding school experiences, daily life with livestock and farming, public work programs, and health related topics. There are several interviews spoken in Dine’ only with limited translation to English available.

The Pueblo recordings are vast with information as all 19 Pueblos of New Mexico are represented in the collection, totaling 293 interviews. Knowledge of important aspects of Pueblo life include culture and history of these respective communities shared by distinguished members of the Pueblo Nations. Interviewees provided personal and family accounts on their societies, agriculture and farming practices, economy and government. Also included are spoken intricacies of linguistics of the Keres, Tewa, Tiwa, Towa and Zuni languages, the original languages of New Mexico. The majority of the interviews from the Pueblo in this collection come from the Pueblo of Isleta.

This collection also includes interviews provided by Indigenous individuals from outside of the southwest region. Some interviews are included from members of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, Inuit from Alaska, and Northern Cheyenne from Montana. Subject matter varies in scope and ranges from the culture and history of the nation, community and family life, religion, education and government affairs. As with the Navajo series and the Pueblo series, some of the collected works are spoken in Indigenous languages with limited translation into English.

The intent of the Doris Duke project was to collect and preserve knowledge from Indigenous communities as there were many instances of American Indian history and culture told from non-Indigenous perspectives. With respect and gratitude, the University of New Mexico is honored to care for this rich collection of oral histories from creators of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.


CSWR Website

American Indian Oral History Collection finding aid

Contact: Jolene Dezbah Manus, Curator for Native American Collections,