American Indian Education Program

Monthly Newsletter - February 2021

Boozhoo District 196 Teachers!

This month's Indian Education Newsletter will focus on Sovereignty & Treaty Rights


Background Photo of The Black Hills Are Not For Sale mural in Los Angeles (Honor the Treaties)

Vocabulary

Sovereignty:

the supreme authority within a territory.


Treaty:

a formally concluded and ratified agreement between countries.


Self Determination:

the process by which a country determines its own statehood and forms its own allegiances and government.


Usufructuary Treaty Rights:

The right to use the property owned by another without altering it. ....

For example.... Even on ceded territory (off-reservation), Ojibwe tribal members retain certain property rights that allow them to “make a modest living from the land.” These use-rights are called usufructuary rights, and are guaranteed by the treaties between Ojibwe bands and the US government, protected by the US Constitution, and affirmed by the US Supreme Court. They include the rights to hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, harvest and cultivate wild rice, and preserve sacred or culturally significant sites (Honor the Earth).

Tribal Sovereignty - POP QUIZ

1. How many American Indian reservations are located in Minnesota?

a) 11 b) 2 c) 574


2. The power of indigenous nations to self govern comes from where?

a) Federal Government. b) State Policy. c) Inherent authority


3. The United States Constitution acknowledges tribal sovereignty?

True or False


4. State law generally applies on Indian reservations?

True or False


5. Which entity currently decides whether or not state law applies on Indian reservations?

a) State Branch. b) State Legislator. c) US Congress. d) National Congress of American Indians


6. Treaty Rights are special race based privileges given by the federal government to indigenous people.

True Or False


answers below


A Brief Overview of Federal, Tribal & State Relations with University of Minnesota/Duluth's Professor Joseph Bauerkemper and Professor Tadd Johnson

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pezAapzR9lg


Teacher Resource: z.umn.edu/treaties

We Have Always Been Sovereign Nations

The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution of the United States (Article VI, Clause 2), establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority, constitute the "supreme Law of the Land", and thus take priority over any conflicting state laws.


It is a common misconception that Indians have special rights because of their race. This is not the case. Indians as individuals do not enjoy any privileges or special rights. Certain rights, such as hunting and fishing, belong to various Indian tribes not because they are made up of Indians, but because they were sovereign nations who signed treaties reserving rights to self-government among other reservations and conditions. (Treaty: Promises Between Governments)

Treaties Between the United States and Indigenous Nations, Explained By: Ruth Hopkins

Ruth Hopkins is a Dakota/Lakota writer and often contributes to Teen Vogue (@Ruth_HHopkins)


Treaties are part of what the U.S. Constitution calls "the supreme law of the land." Yet they are too seldom discussed, too often ignored, and viewed by too many today as ancient history.

Nonetheless, treaties are legally binding agreements that occur nation to nation. Treaties were made between newly formed European settler governments and the sovereign Indigenous nations that already populated the continent.


Today, Natives are often thought of in terms of race, and we are considered people of color. But American Indians specifically are also designated by the federal government as a political classification. This is because we belong to ancient Indigenous tribes that predate the existence of the United States of America and we made treaties with them. These treaties recognized our sovereignty as independent nations.


Treaties, and the U.S. government’s history of unilaterally breaching them, have had a profound effect on Native people. To be blunt, we were lied to. Treaties were used as a ruse to coax tribes out of defending their territory and to steal Native lands and resources.....Continue Reading

Dakota/Lakota Treaty Rights

Why Treaties Matter... Today, treaties continue to affirm the inherent sovereignty of American Indian nations. Tribal governments maintain nation-to-nation relationships with the United States government. Tribal nations manage lands, resources, and economies, protect people, and build more secure futures for generations to come.

That is Why Treaties Matter (treatiesmatter.org)



Dakota Treaties w/the United State Government:

1805 Treaty with the Sioux:

Sale of Pike Island at Bdote to build Fort Snelling.


1837 Land Session Treaty

The first major land cessions by Dakota and Ojibwe people.


1851 Dakota Land Session Treaty

Dakota people sold most of their land to the U.S. except for a strip of land 20 miles wide, spanning the Minnesota River.


1858 Land Session Treaties with the Dakota

One month after Minnesota became a State, Dakota people were taken to Washington to sign away the northern half of their holdings along the Minnesota River, in acknowledgement that white settlers had encroached on the land and planned to stay.

Paha Sapa: Defenders of the Black Hills

The Black Hills stretch across western South Dakota, northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana and constitute a sacred landscape for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Omaha. To the Lakota, they are Paha Sapa, “the heart of everything that is.” The Black Hills were the casualty of one of the most blatant land grabs in U.S. history and continue to be the site of a legal and political confrontation. Rick Two-Dogs, an Oglala Lakota medicine man, explains: “All of our origin stories go back to this place. We have a spiritual connection to the Black Hills that can’t be sold. I don’t think I could face the Creator with an open heart if I ever took money for it.” (Sacredland.org)


Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851:

This treaty was the first effort to define the territory of the Great Sioux Nation of Lakotas, Dakotas, and Nakotas. The treaty council was attended by thousands of Sioux men and their families as well as soldiers and officers of the U.S. Army, representatives of the United States government, and interpreters. Note that the tribes that surrounded the Sioux Treaty Lands did not yet have defined territories. The Treaty of 1851 did not establish a reservation, but began the process of defining territory in which the Sioux could live and hunt. The treaty was supposed to reduce warfare among the Indian tribes of the northern Great Plains (ND.gov).


Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868: established the Great Sioux Reservation which included the sacred Black Hills.


With the discovery of gold in the Black Hills, gold miners flooded the region. The US government offered to purchase the land. However, the Lakota people refused to part with the land that held significant religious meaning to them. Conflict between the Lakota and encroaching white settlers ultimately led to the Battle of Little Big Horn where the Lakota people defeated the United State's General George Armstrong Custer & the Seventh Calvary. Because of this defeat, articles were removed from the Fort Laramie Treaty and the Black Hills were successfully stolen for the Lakota People.


In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. had illegally appropriated the Black Hills and awarded more than $100 million in reparations. The Sioux Nation refused the money (which is now worth over a billion dollars), stating that the land was never for sale.


More Resources

LandBack.Org

Honor The Treaties - Short Documentary

Fort Laramie National Historic Site

Oceti Sakowin: Seven Council Fire

Fort Laramie Treaty (Archives.gov)

In 1868, Two Nations Made a Treaty (Smithsonian Magazine)


Defenders of the Black Hills is to ensure that all of the provisions of the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 are upheld by the federal government of the United States (defendblackhills.org).

Ojibwe Treaty Rights

Even on ceded territory (off-reservation), Ojibwe tribal members retain certain property rights that allow them to “make a modest living from the land.” These use-rights are called usufructuary rights, and are guaranteed by the treaties between Ojibwe bands and the US government, protected by the US Constitution, and affirmed by the US Supreme Court. They include the rights to hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, harvest and cultivate wild rice, and preserve sacred or culturally significant sites. (From Honor the Earth: Treaty Rights Fact Sheet).


To learn more about the Ojibwe Treaties with the United States Government, please explore the Why Treaties Matter website and learn about the "fish-in" / spearfishing conflicts that occurred as Ojibwe people fought to exercise their treaty rights.


Why Treaties Matter - Ojibwe:


Fighting for their right to hunt, fish, gather on ceded territory...

Treaty Rights Activism

Pop Quiz ANSWERS

1. How many American Indian reservations are located in Minnesota?

a) 11


2. The power of indigenous nations to self govern comes from where?

c) Inherent authority


3. The United States Constitution acknowledges tribal sovereignty?

True


4. State law generally applies on Indian reservations?

False


5. Which entity currently decides whether or not state law applies on Indian reservations?

c) US Congress


6. Treaty Rights are special race based privileges given by the federal government to indigenous people.

False


This quiz was created by Joseph Bauerkemper - UMD Professor. Please check out his webinar with Professor Tadd Johnson (link below). This is probably one of the best introductions to Tribal Sovereignty. This webinar is presented by the Minnesota Indian Education Association:


A Brief Overview of Federal, Tribal & State Relations with University of Minnesota/Duluth's Professor Joseph Bauerkemper and Professor Tadd Johnson

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pezAapzR9lg


Teacher Resource: z.umn.edu/treaties