Skip to main content

Native American Heritage and Traditions

Welcome to the Native American Heritage and Traditions libguide. On this page, you will find information and links related to Native American books, events, tribes in the local area and much more.

2019 Events


Native Americans and the Missions of San Antonio 

Mickey Killian gave three presentations at San Antonio public libraries in November (dates and times when it occurred are listed below).  His presentations focused on the genealogical work that had been recently done connecting the Native builders of the missions to today's San Antonio residents. 

Mission Library:   Saturday, November 02,  10:30-11:30 am
Pan American Library:   Monday, November 04,  6:30-7:30 pm
McCreless Library:  Saturday, November 23, 1:30-2:30 pm

2018 Events


Native Americans and the Missions of San Antonio 

Mickey Killian gave three presentations at San Antonio public libraries in November (dates and times when it occurred are listed below).  His presentations covered the fascinating origin and evolutionary history of the Native American groups who inhabited the Missions of San Antonio.   

Mission Library:   Saturday, November 10,  1:00-2:00 pm
Pan American Library:   Saturday, November 17,  1:00-2:00 pm

McCreless Library:  Monday, November 19, 6:30-7:30 pm.

Native American Film Presentation

This is a film that centers on the story of a group of Native American youths from a reservation who each face their own unique struggles.  It was shown on:

Carver Library:   Tuesday, November 13,  6:00-8:00 pm

San Antonio Mission's Historic Cultural Landscape

On the date below, archaeologist Sergio and Melinda Iruegas discussed “Spanish Colonial Mission Historic Cultural Landscapes: Caminos Reales, Mission Ranchos, Architecture, and Genealogy as Archaeological Artifacts.   

Central Library (Latino Collection & Resource Center) :   
Saturday, November 10,  2:00-3:00 pm

2017 Events


On November 4, 2017, Russ Tall Chief gave a presentation in the Central Library’s auditorium about his great-aunt, Maria Tallchief, a famous ballerina who danced for the New York City Ballet. Besides discussing Maria, he shared with the audience information about Osage Tribal culture from the Native point of view, including related details tied to the David Grann’s book “Killers of the Flower Moon”. He also gave a traditional Osage male dance demonstration.

Below is background information on this recent event:  

Speaker Russ Tall Chief (Osage) is Maria's great nephew. He is Director of Student Engagement, Inclusion, and Multicultural Programs at Oklahoma City University. He has taught writing at Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City University, Rose State College and Oklahoma City Community College. Tall Chief edited the Art Galleries section of Native Peoples Magazine (2000-2015). His play, Jacobson and the Kiowa Five was staged by the Oklahoma City Theatre Company for an annual celebration of the New Native American Play Festival. Russ is a Taildancer and former Drumkeeper (High honors) for the Greyhorse District of the In'lonshka Osage ceremonial dances. For the New York City Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, he was Head Man Dancer as well as staff in their Education and Public Affairs departments. He is hard at work on a book about Maria and Marjorie Tall Chief, two renowned Osage ballerinas. He also wrote the Forward to Michael Snyder's new release of "John Joseph Mathews: Life of an Osage Writer" and joined author David Grann on his book tour through Oklahoma promoting his bestseller book, "Killers of the Flower Moon”

Related Books:

  1. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage murders and the birth of the FBI, by David Grann, New York: Doubleday 2017.

      2. John Joseph Mathews: Life of an Osage Writer (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series) by Dr. Michael Snyder, Forward by Russ Tall Chief. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press 2017.

      3. Maria Tallchief: America's prima ballerina. By Maria Tallchief and Larry Kaplan. 1997. New York: Henry Holt.

  • Watch for Russ Tall Chief’s book about great aunts, Maria and Marjorie (professional ballerinas)

Recommending the Following:

Anderson, Jack. 2013. Maria Tallchief, a dazzling ballerina and muse for Balanchine, dies at 88. New York Times, April 12, 2013, sec Dance. 

———. 2012. Ballet Russe. Dance Heritage Coalition. 

Cowan, Lee. 2017. Revisiting the "reign of terror" on the Osage Nation. Sunday Morning ed. New York: CBS News,

De Leon, Jenefar. Graceful heritage: Five Indian ballerinas. The Oklahoman Media Company [database online]. Oklahoma City, OK, Available from 

Geller, Daniel, and Dayna Goldfine. 2006. Ballets Russes, eds. Mia Slavenska, Tania Riabouchinska, Marie Tallchief, Frederic Franklin, Irina Baronova, Yvonne Chouteau, Yvonne Craig. DVD 792.8028 BALLETS. New York: Zeitgeist Films, 

ITCTMN, Staff. 2013. Former Osage chief and educator George Eves Tall Chief walks on. Indian Country Today Media Network, August 17, 2013.  

Pember, Mary Annette. 2016. Intergenerational trauma: Understanding Natives’ inherited pain. Verona, New York: Indian Country Media Network, FREE REPORTS Download.

Rose, Joel. 2013. 'First American ballet star' soared to fame with 'Firebird.' Weekend All Things Considered.  Radio. New York: NPR News

Sanchez, John. 2012 (Summer). Indian voices: Listening to Native Americans. American Indian Quarterly 36 (3): 377-9, [SAPL Ebscohost Database]

 Scott, A. O. After Diaghilev, a deluge of Ballets Russes. New York Times, October 26, 2005, sec Movies Film Review.

Tall Chief, Amy. Ki-hi-ka ste': Life of Chief George Tall Chief. Third World Newsreel [database online]. New York, n.d., from

Why we dance: American Indian art in motion. Denver Art Museum [database online]. Denver, CO, 2016 Available from 

MUST SEE YouTube Videos:

Maria Tallchief, by Abigail Sawicki & Hopi Graham

Maria Tallchief: Revolutionary Ballerina

Balanchine Foundation Interview: Maria Tallchief THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS and SYLVIA PAS DE DEUX

Maria Tallchief in George Balanchine's Firebird

Portrait of Maria Tallchief

BBC NEWS: Legendary New York prima ballerina Maria Tallchief dies at 88

Tribute to Maria Tallchief (1925-2013)

Native Americans in the San Antonio Area

Mickey Killian gave three presentations at San Antonio public libraries in November (dates and times that the events occurred are listed below).  His presentation not only covered the fascinating history of these groups, but it also explored their evolution into today’s society.  

Mission Library:   Thursday, November 9,  5:00-6:00 pm
Collins Garden Library:   Thursday, November 16,  6:30-7:30 pm
McCreless Library:  Saturday, November 18, 3:00-4:00 pm.

Native American Genealogy

On November 18th from 1-3pm, in Central Library's Latino Collection and Resource Center, Ramon Juan Vasquez, member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan and Executive Director of the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions, showed how to track your Native American roots.