A collection of treaties between the United States and Native American tribes, digitized by National Archives in Washington, DC and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe, is now available online for the first time.
The Indigenous Digital Archive (IDA) Treaties Explorer includes 374 of these historical documents, collectively referred to as the Ratified Indian Treaties, for free access. The online tool also includes maps and additional resources for researchers.
The original documents, some of which were written on sheets of parchment, are held in a protected area at the National Archives. Because of their fragility and significance, the documents are not accessible through the Central Research Room. Several treaties feature drawings, maps, and wampum beads that were used in some Native American tribes.
Beyond their historical and educational value, these records are immensely relevant today as tribal advocates continue to use them in court to protect their rights in land and water disputes. Based on some of these treaties, the US Supreme Court ruled in July that nearly half of Oklahoma falls within Native American territory.
“The treaties between the US and Native nations are relevant, and few people have had access to know about treaties that are related to where they live,” Della Warrior, MIAC’s director and a member of the Otoe-Missouria tribe, told the Albuquerque Journal. “MIAC is pleased to be able to provide this online resource that we all can use to explore our relationships using maps and a carefully curated set of historical documents from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and other sources.”
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Author: Hakim Bishara