Historical research does not consist in the mere collection of 'facts', but rather in the interrelationship between factual evidence and the interpretation of this evidence by historians...
There is no standard text on history, nor is there any standard list of historical facts or a single interpretation of many historical events. However, there are historical events where a genuine consensus of opinion among historians does in fact exist.
McDowell, Bill. Historical Research : A Guide, Taylor & Francis Group, 2002, pp. 3-4. (Ebook available through SCU Library)
Largely you need to search OSCAR and history databases through SCU library for secondary sources.
When searching, start with basic keywords—one or two might be enough depending on where you are searching. If you are searching a source that deals directly with history, your search terms will be different than a large, multidisciplinary database.
(cherokee or "native american" or "american indian") and civil war
Only two concepts
This is why it is very important to pick a good database to search from the start.
In historical research, words we used today may not be the words used to originally describe the event or thing during the original time period.
If you're not finding anything, it may be because you're just using different words than they used back then. Talk with your librarian about different search strategies.
Sometimes you can search for primary sources, and sometimes you have to pick a repository to browse, especially when the language used during your historical time period may be different from the language we use now. Again, this is why it is important to pick a good collection or repository from the beginning. When selecting a repository or digital collection, think larger than your topic, and think what collection would contain useful information for you.
The best way to get research help this quarter is to use the Library's Ask A Librarian service. You have many options there: live chat 24/7, email, browse FAQs, instructions for dropping in to the Help Desk in person.
If you know your topic concerns the history of Santa Clara University or the surrounding area, you can directly email SpecialCollections@scu.edu to see if Archives & Special Collections has primary source materials to support your topic.