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HIST 394: Treaties to Land Back

A guide covering Federal Indian Law resources

Online Treaty Collections

Indigenous Digital Archive, Treaties Explorer
The US National Archives holds 374 treaties, where they are known as the Ratified Indian Treaties. Here you can view them alongside key historic works.

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties (1902-1971) (Vol. 1-7)
This seven volume compilation by Charles J. Kappler is the primary source for the texts of treaties, laws and executive orders pertaining to Native American Indian tribes. Volume two contains treaties from 1778 to 1883. The compilation also includes laws, executive orders and related government publications pertaining to Native American Indian tribes from 1778 - 1970. Enhanced by the editor's use of margin notations and a comprehensive index. Available online on the Oklahoma State University Digital Collection and in the U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library on HeinOnline.

Early Recognized Treaties with American Indian Nations
This collection includes the nine additional treaties that are not included in Kappler's compilation.

Historic Maps

Leverage historical land cessions maps to dive deeper into research around treaties. The Royce Maps linked to below are historical maps of American Indian territory between 1784 and 1894.  They were published along with a table that gives information about the treaty that ceded or reserved the land including when and where the treaty was concluded and a citation to find the treaty.

Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-1897, by Charles C. Royce
This report, available through the Library of Congress, includes the treaty and legislative information for the release of land across the country as well as maps designating boundaries of tribes. Tables list what was ceded/reserved, where, when, and by what treaty (along with a citation to the treaty).

Tribal Lands Ceded to the United States, U.S. Forest Service
A map service depicting sixty-seven maps from Royce's 1897 report that have been scanned, georeferenced, and digitized to create this feature class of cession maps. This interface is helpful because some of the Royce maps cover multiple states, and are difficult to see and understand via the original maps.

Keeping Current

Recent News on Treaties from Turtle Talk
The leading blog on legal issues in Indian Country. Created for the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University College of Law. They post news items related to Indian law and politics, with a special emphasis on topics related to Indian tribes in Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

Additional Resources