Enduring Legacies: Native American Treaties and Contemporary Controversies

Enduring Legacies: Native American Treaties and Contemporary Controversies

Enduring Legacies: Native American Treaties and Contemporary Controversies

Enduring Legacies: Native American Treaties and Contemporary Controversies

Synopsis

The first book to address the present-day implications of Native American treaties as they apply to land claims (such as two-thirds of the state of Maine); retention of natural resources (such as oil and gas); and the proper use of the massive profits from gambling enterprises.

Excerpt

Vine Deloria, Jr.

Like no other group of indigenous peoples, now submerged in a society of immigrants, treaties define our relationship with the United States politically and with the body politic emotionally. Most people have never seen the text of a treaty, and far fewer have seen the text of a treaty written on large sheets of paper and parchment with fading black ink at the end of each line where the pen of the secretary was running out of ink. Yet there is an attachment to the idea of a treaty that stirs great emotions and calls us to maintain a high ethical standard in our dealings with each other.

England and France began the treaty-making process in the earliest days of colonization. The negotiations were conducted in traditional Indian fashion and lasted nearly two weeks with first a ceremony of condolence to "wipe away the tears" caused by the infractions committed by both sides since the previous treaty. This ceremony was followed by a ceremony called "polishing the covenant chain." This chain was initially an imaginary silver belt of alliance that had become tarnished when both sides failed to fulfill the spirit of the previous treaties. Once forgiveness was given, each day was devoted to a speaker from one of the parties, the initial speaker announcing his understanding of the previous conditions that had been agreed upon and the responding speaker, the following day, giving the perspective from the other side.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.