"Newspapers nowadays, seem to be a fad, . . . perhaps more correctly a means to the end in view. Societies, associations, organizations and even political aspirants have resorted to the magazine or newspaper to further their cause, therefore can't you excuse Poor Lo?" So wrote August A. Breuninger, a member of the Progressive Indian Association of Wisconsin, in the first issue of his Indian Observer in 1911. Perhaps unwittingly, Breuninger had expressed what American Indians before him had known for over three quarters of a century: the press is a powerful tool in the hands of any interest group, including the Indians. However, his journalistic venture did not have the social or political impact that he envisioned and quickly became a part of the history of American Indian and Alaska Native newspapers and periodicals--a history that is now over 150 years old.
Exactly what qualifies as "American Indian or Alaska Native" newspapers and periodicals might be the subject of debate. But those who have attempted to define or list them include not only those published and edited by Indians or Alaska Natives but those published by others, including the federal government, who focus on the contemporary American Indian or Alaska Native and his affairs. 1 Thus the lists contain titles from (1) the American Indian and Alaska Native press; (2) the nonsectarian and sectarian press with Indian or Alaska Native focus; and (3) the government-supported press. Between 1826 and 1924, over two hundred such newspapers and periodicals were published. Combined, they make a significant statement about Indian and Alaska Native history because they present the Indian or Native from various perspectives, the most important of which is his own.
During the century preceding 1924, Indians and Alaska Natives published or edited a large number of newspapers and periodicals or were otherwise respon-