The need for a guide to American Indian and Alaska Native newspapers and periodicals became apparent to us a few years ago, while we were compiling a bibliography of American Indian and Alaska Native writers. We found that such publications were popular outlets for native writers, but that existing reference guides and union lists did not contain most titles or did not identify their Indian or Alaska Native emphasis. Thus the need for a guide to those publications became apparent, not only for projects such as the one we were involved in at that time but also for the valuable resources it would lead to in American Indian and Alaska Native studies.
When we began our present work, we were unaware of the magnitude of the undertaking. As we traveled around the country, poring over bound volumes, searching through countless cubic feet of archival material, and rummaging through dusty closets and filing cabinets containing uncataloged information, the limits of the project expanded and problems surfaced.
One major problem was establishing a satisfactory definition of terms. A question often posed to us was, What do you mean by periodical? By that term we refer in part to those publications that appeared periodically but more frequently than yearly. In addition, we refer to publications with content that is characteristic of the content normally found in newspapers and magazines. Here our list of titles differs from others. While we have included some irregular publications on the basis of content, we have excluded others, such as reform organization bulletins, that appeared periodically but were essentially monographic.
Another question that we often heard was, What do you mean by American Indian or Alaska Native newspapers and periodicals? Consulting existing lists of "Indian" periodicals helped very little because they contain several types of publications, from titles published by Indians or Alaska Natives to the journals of archaeological societies. That concept seemed too broad for our purposes. As we have defined the phrases here, they refer to those newspapers and periodicals