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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Indigenous Theatre Resource Guide

This guide provides an overview of Indigenous theatre resources available at the Music & Performing Arts Library. It also serves as a starting point for research on Indigenous theatre and performance practices.

Getting Started

This guide presents a selection of resources that will help you find playscripts, literary criticism, performance histories, and historical context for Native American theatre.

Indigenous theatre is also an area in which we are actively collecting, so if there are other materials you'd like to see in the collection, please let us know through our suggest a purchase form

Use the tabs to the left navigate the guide. For general search tips to help you browse on your own, check out the section below.

Searching the Library Catalog

Here are some search tips for navigating the Library Catalog to find materials on Indigenous theatre.


When you do a simple keyword search, you are searching for words or phrases that can be found anywhere in the text of an item record. This can be a great way to find a large number of results! That said, you might also get results that are only tangentially related to your topic if your keyword is mentioned in the record, but it isn't a main subject of the work. 

  • Search for Native American, Amerindian, IndianFirst Peoples, First Nations, Aboriginal, or Indigenous as keywords. You can also link multiple words from this list together using "OR" to get more results (e.g. Native American OR Indian OR Indigenous)
  • Search by the name of a particular tribe or cultural group to narrow your search (e.g. Hopi or Ojibway)
  • Combine a tribal name with a topical word (e.g. Cherokee drama)

Subject Headings:

Using the Advanced Search feature, you can browse by subject in our Library Catalog. This means conducting a search using a term from a pre-defined controlled vocabulary of headings used to classify materials in our catalog. This will give you more targeted results than doing a simple keyword search because you will only see results that were assigned the subject heading you searched with. Searching by subject can be a great strategy, but it only works if you know which subject terms are used in our catalog. Here are a few you can try:

  • Indians of North America 
  • Indian arts -- North America
  • American Drama -- Indian Women Authors
  • American Drama -- Indian Authors

To search by subject: 

  • Click on "Advanced Search" to the right of the search bar
  • Underneath "Search Filters", you'll see that the default is set to "Any Field"
  • Click on the arrow next to "Any Field" and select "Subject" from the drop-down menu
  • Use one of the subject headings recommended above

Screenshot with the first search filter set to "subject contains" "American Drama--Indian Women Authors"

  • Once you've found a relevant book in the catalog, you can also use the subjects listed in the record to find related materials.
  • To see which subjects catalogers have used to classify a work, scroll down to the "Details" section of the item record and look under "Subject".
  • You can click on any of the subjects hyperlinked in blue in the item record to search for other works in the Library Catalog classified under the same subject heading.

Screenshot showing that subject headings appear in the "Details" section of a catalog record as hyperlinked text next to "Subject"