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Monday, December 2, 2019

Honor the Treaties: Why Treaties Matter


A figure on a windswept road walks past a series of flags. An activist fights the wind while walking along Flag Road in Oceti Sakowin Camp as blizzard conditions grip the area around the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota on December 6, 2016. Scott Olson/Getty Images6

Native leaders on what it would look like if the US kept its promises

The US has signed hundreds of treaties with Indigenous peoples. Here’s what would happen if the government actually honored them.



By Rory Taylor Sep 23, 2019, This story is part of a group of stories called First Person essays and interviews with unique perspectives on complicated issues.

While people in a single community will provide a range of perspectives — much less in all 573 federally recognized tribes — more often than not, a version of one answer always comes up about what the US needs to do: honor the treaties.

The US government signed 370 treaties with numerous Indigenous nations from 1778 to 1871.

While the language in the treaties is diverse, there are often certain common features of the pacts: a guarantee of peace, a definition of land boundaries, preservation of hunting and fishing rights, and provisions for protection against domestic and foreign enemies. (HUNT FISH GATHER)

But these pacts were signed across significantly different periods of history, with incredibly divergent views of what Indigenous nations were. That’s why listening to what Native peoples are actually asking for is so important.

READ: Native American treaties: What it would mean if the US honored them - Vox

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Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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