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‘Why Treaties Matter’ at Carver County Historical Society
Feb 03, 2012 | 739 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations” is a new traveling exhibition that will explore the Native nations in Minnesota and their history of treaty making with the United States.

The exhibit will open Feb. 8 at the Carver County Historical Society, where it will be on view through March 7. Following its close at the CCHS, the exhibition will begin a statewide tour through 2012 to reservations and other venues under the auspices of the Minnesota Humanities Center and its partner, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.

In August 2010, a resolution creating a unique partnership of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. was approved unanimously by the tribes residing in Minnesota and made it possible for the exhibition to be developed as an educational tool for Minnesota audiences.

The exhibition will include 20 free-standing banners with evocative text, historical and contemporary photographs and maps, and a 10-minute video titled, “A Day in the Life of the Minnesota Tribal Nations.”

This exhibit reveals how Dakota and Ojibwe treaties with the U.S. government affected the lands and lives of the Indigenous peo-ples of the place we now call Minnesota, and explains why these binding agreements between nations still matter today.

“Treaties are agreements between self-governing, or sovereign, nations,” stated Kevin Leecy, chairman of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe and chairman of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. “Native Nations existed long before the formation of the United States. European powers recognized the sovereign status of Native Nations when they made treaties with us, as did the United States.”

“In order to create the vibrant Minnesota of the future we need to understand the importance of the agreements — the treaties — between the sovereign Indian nations and the United States,” said Minnesota Humanities Center President David O’Fallon. “Un-derstanding these treaties is important now — it affects how we live — and will shape the future.”

“The history of Indian treaties is the history of all Minnesotans and all Americans,” says Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. “Even now, states, Native nations, and the federal government continue to engage on a government-to-government basis every day, making in effect new treaties, building upon those made many years ago. We cannot have a complete understanding of what it means to be Americans without knowing about these relationships, whether we are Native Americans or not.”

“Why Treaties Matter” is funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and The Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation. For more information, visit
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