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Native Voices

Treaties

Treaties

Article 1, section 8 of the US Constitution recognized that tribes are separate entities than the federal government, and that they are sovereignImage of the Medicine Creek Treaty, page 1 nations who have a treaty relationship with Washington, D.C.  Treaty relationships define the legal relationships between the US government and tribes.  Those treaty relationships, however, have been extraordinarily problematic.  The Medicine Creek Treaty, for example, defines the relationship between the United States and the "Nisqually, Puyallup, Steilacoom, Squawskin, S'Homamish, Stehchass. T'Peeksin, Squi-aitl, and Sa-he-hwamish" peoples, was not given to the tribes ahead of time so that they could review it and offer revisions and was not even presented to the tribes in their own language; thus, there can be serious questions about whether it is even a legitimate treaty.  The U.S. have a history of not honoring treaties with tribes.  Below are sources to help us learn about US and Indigenous treaty relationships.

 

 

The image to the right is the first page of the Medicine Creek Treaty, from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.

Selected library resources

Selected web resources

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