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Indigenous Futures: Native Americans

This guide was originally created for the use of instructors and students in the reACT Decolonizing Education Experiential Learning Program funded by the 2022-2023 TLTC Curriculum Grants. Specifically: ARCH460; ARCH478; ARCH601; ARCH678; CHBE473; ENCH648


Deloria, Vine and David E. Wilkins. 1999. Tribes, Treaties, and Constitutional Tribulations. 1st ed. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Deloria, Vine and David E. Wilkins. 2011. The Legal Universe: Observations on the Foundations of American Law. Golden, Coloradio: Fulcrum. 

Deloria, Vine, Raymond J. DeMallie, and Daniel K. Inouye. 1999. Documents of American Indian Diplomacy: Treaties, Agreements, and Conventions, 1775-1979. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Deloria, Vine and Institute for the Development of Indian Law. 1973. A Chronological List of Treaties and Agreements Made by Indian Tribes with the United States. Washington, D.C.: Institute for the Development of Indian Law.

Kappler, C. J. (1904–1941). Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, vols. 1–5. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. The entire suite consists of Kappler’s five original volumes, and two additional ones published in 1979 by the Department of the Interior in response to the passage of the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Lowrie, Walter, et al. American State Papers. Class Ii, Indian Affairs, 1832. Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton. 

Brodhead, John Romeyn, and New York (State). Legislature. Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York; Procured in Holland, England, and France. Edited by Berthold Fernow and E. B O'Callaghan, Weed, Parsons, Printers, 1969.

Van Doren, Carl, et al. Indian Treaties Printed by Benjamin Franklin, 1736-1762. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1938.

Treaty Portals

American Indian Treaties Portal provides texts of American Indian treaties and peer-reviewed articles on various treaties. The portal links out to a number of digitized primary sources, and an original biography of Charles J. Kappler. Hosted at the University of Nebraska Libraries.

IDA Treaties Explorer This site is an annotated GIS map searchable by Treaty, Cessions, Tribes, Places, It includes copies of digitized treaties as well as historical and contemporary maps representing land cessions. Our main resource for linking the names of tribes as they appeared in historic documents and the official names of tribes today is a list maintained by the National Park Service. Like the US Forest Service, the National Park Service works with indigenous tribes and researches its cultural resource collections and land under its stewardship in compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).  IDA Boundaries on the present day map are drawn from GIS data maintained by the US Forest Service. The land boundaries are mainly from the work of government clerks in the 1890s-1900s to research the history of land transfer treaties or other agreements, in the absence of an official list of all the ratified treaties the US entered into with Native nations. They referred to these as “cessions.” Their maps are included on this site. The boundaries they compiled have been transferred to a modern GIS map with some updates by Claudio Saunt, and further updated in recent years by the US Forest Service. The government’s compilations of cessions did not include much of the Eastern Seaboard, or West Virginia or Kentucky, both formerly part of Virginia. Some treaties related to those areas can still be searched by tribe name or title, while others were treaties made in Colonial times between Native nations and European governments. A summary of Colonial era treaties by eastern seaboard area is given in American Indian Treaties: A Guide to Ratified and Unratified Colonial United States, State, Foreign, and Intertribal Treaties and Agreements, 1607-1911 by David H. DeJong

Native American Treaties at the National Archives and Records Administration

The original ratified treaties between the United States and American Indian tribal nations are housed at the National Archives in Washington, DC, as the series, "Indian Treaties, 1722–1869" (National Archives Identifier 299798). Ratified Indian Treaties, numbered 1–374, were transferred to the National Archives from the Department of State in the late 1930s. They are housed in a specially protected area within the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and are not pulled for use in the Central Research Room. Over 50 of the treaties are written on large sheets of parchment and several contain pictographs, drawings/maps, and wampum. The original treaties are digitized and available online through multiple sources, including:

The National Archives CatalogAmerican Indian Treaties: Catalog Links includes links to the digitized treaties arranged by treaty date and tribal nation.  As part of a project funded by an anonymous donor in 2017, the National Archives Still Imaging Digitization Lab in Washington, DC would image 374 Ratified Indian Treaties over three years. Following conservation treatment, the treaties were to be fully digitized, and made available to the public in the National Archives Catalog. Beyond creating faithful reproductions of the original documents, the images would need to satisfy various end-uses for the project’s outreach components, including facsimile printing for exhibition, and use in an online portal that enabled zooming-in and scrolling of the treaty images.

The treaties are also available as NARA Microfilm Publication M668

Archival Collections

ArchiveGrid: Provides online access to nearly a million descriptions of archival collections held by thousands of libraries, museums, historical societies and archives worldwide. ArchiveGrid includes over 7 million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,400 archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.  Search on topics, e.g., Piscataway Indians.