American Indian treaties: the history of a political anomaly by Francis Paul Prucha

By Francis Paul Prucha

American Indian affairs are a lot within the public brain today--hotly contested debates over such matters as Indian fishing rights, land claims, and reservation playing carry our recognition. whereas the original criminal prestige of yankee Indians rests at the historic treaty dating among Indian tribes and the government, beforehand there was no entire background of those treaties and their function in American life.Francis Paul Prucha, a number one authority at the background of yankee Indian affairs, argues that the treaties have been a political anomaly from the very starting. The time period "treaty" implies a freelance among sovereign self reliant countries, but Indians have been regularly able of inequality and dependence as negotiators, a undeniable fact that complicates their present makes an attempt to regain their rights and tribal sovereignty.Prucha's impeccably researched publication, according to an in depth research of each treaty, makes attainable an intensive realizing of a criminal issue whose legacy is so palpably felt this day.

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American Indian treaties: the history of a political anomaly

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Indians and Europe: An Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays (Aachen: Rader Verlag, 1987), 43553. There is discussion of the International Indian Treaty Council and the Geneva Conference it organized in the 1970s on pp. 41819 below. Page 17 was a principle that neither the legislators nor the courts could openly reject. After powerful arguments against signing any more treaties with Indian groups because they had lost the attributes of sovereignty, Congress in 1871 declared an end to such treaty making.

If the treaty contracts were not lived up to by the federal government, there would be an indelible stain on the honor of the country and its citizens. Moreover, there was a deep consciousness that the United States was a Christian nation and that not only would it lose its religious innocence by dealing unfairly with the Indians but that God in his justice would punish the nation if it left the path of righteousness by violating ''sacred" treaties. Evangelical leaders tried hard to prevent the commission of such a national sin by arousing the conscience of the citizenry.

We have applied them to Indians as we have applied them to the other nations of the earth. 9 The anomaly in treaty making, however, soon appeared. Indian tribal sovereignty had gradually eroded, until the tribes became the dependent nations Marshall also spoke of. The treaties both reflected and contributed to the inequality and dependency with which the Indian negotiators faced the federal treaty commissioners. They rested on the assumption that the Indian tribes were not independent nations on the international scene.

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