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Nation to Nation

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Sep 30, 2014 | ISBN 9781588344786

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This seminal volume, being published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, also commemorates the museum’s tenth anniversary. Those who contributed essays include Native and non-Native historians, legal scholars, and tribal activists, their sources culled from Native American material culture, tribal oral traditions, interviews, and historical documents. In assessing “what went wrong” with the 368 treaty relationships of “mutual respect” forged between 1777 and 1868, the authors cite numerous overreaches of power by the U.S. government, including the Doctrine of Discovery of 1823, whereby Indians lost the title to their lands, only retaining the right to occupy them; the “civilization regulations” which, beginning in 1883, criminalized everything traditional in Indian life; and the Plenary Power Doctrine of 1903, which stated that Congress could abrogate treaties without tribal consent. As the twentieth century unfolded, Indian nations “dusted off their treaties” and demanded that their original bilateral intent be fulfilled—leading to the restoration of water rights, fishing rights, and tribal civil jurisdiction. This landmark volume highlights this crucial and evolving process.  — Deborah Donovan


This impressive volume is lavishly illustrated with rare historical and stunning contemporary images and is about much more than just treaties. Encompassing subject matter as diverse as American Indian Civil Rights, alterations in traditional Native lifeways in order to accommodate treaty promises (even when the United States refused to honor them), expressions of Native sovereignty in language revitalization, traditional cultural preservation, and the promise of rights in the larger indigenous context of the United Nations, this book deserves a place on the bookshelves of the scholar’s scholar and is one of the most important works in Native Studies today.

Table Of Contents

Foreword by Kevin Gover
Introduction by Suzan Shown Harjo
  American Indian Land and American Empire: An Interview with Philip J. Deloria by Suzan Shown Harjo
Treaties with Native Nations: Iconic Historical Relics or Modern Necessity? by Robert N. Clinton
  Treaties as Recognition of the Nation-to-Nation Relationship by Matthew L. M. Fletcher
Linking Arms and Brightening the Chain: Building Relations Through Treaties by Richard W. Hill Sr.
  The Two-Row Wampum Belt by Mark G. Hirsch
  William Penn’s Treaty and the Shackamaxon Elm Tree by Arwen Nuttall
  Illegal State Treaties by Mark G. Hirsch
Unintended Consequences: Johnson v. M’Intosh and Indian Removal by Lindsay G. Robertson
  Removal Treaties: An Interview with Carey N. Vicenti by Suzan Shown Harjo
  Avoiding Removal: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians by Matthew L.M. Fletcher
The Great Treaty Council at Horse Creek by Raymond J. Demallie
  Language and World View at the Horse Creek Treaty by Arwen Nuttall
  “The Indians Were the Spoken Word”: An Interview with N. Scott Momaday by Suzan Shown Harjo
Naal Tsoos Sani: The Navajo Treaty of 1868, Nation Building, and Self-Determination by Jennifer Nez Denetdale
Treaties My Ancestors Made for Me: A Family Treaty History by Suzan Shown Harjo
The Betrayal of “Civilization” in United States-Native Nations Diplomacy: Pawnee Treaties and Cultural Genocide by James Riding In
  American Indian Scouts by Mark G. Hirsch
  “Civilization” and the Hupa Flower Dance Ceremony by Lois J. Risling
Rights Guaranteed by Solemn Treaties
  The Game and Fish Were Made For Us: Hunting and Fishing Rights in Native Nations’ Treaties by Hank Adams
  The Anti-Treaty Movement in the Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes by Suzan Shown Harjo
  River by River: Treaty Rights in Washington State / An Interview with Susan Hvalsoe Komort by Suzan Shown Harjo
  “The Fish Helped to Bring People Together”: An Interview with Zoltan Grossman by Suzan Shown Harjo
  Arthur Duhamel: Treaty Fisherman by Matthew L.M. Fletcher
  Rights We Always Had: An Interview with Tina Kuckkahn by Suzan Shown Harjo
From Dislocation to Self-Determination: Native Nations and the United States in the Twentieth Century by Kevin Gover
  The Treaty with the Lower Klamath, Upper Klamath, and Trinity River Indians–and Who We Are Today by Lois J. Risling
  Treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by Arwen Nuttall
  Modern Treaties: An Interview with Ben Nighthorse Campbell by Suzan Shown Harjo
  Treaties and Contemporary American Indian Cultures by W. Richard West Jr.
Selected bibliography
Image credits

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