by Paula Stuart-Warren
This series of records reproduces ratified treaties that occurred between the United States government and American Indian tribes. Also included are related correspondence, a chronological list of the treaties, and indexes by both place and tribe. A few earlier treaties and agreements between the colonial governments and the Continental Congress, and the Congress of the Confederation are included as these were later adopted under the U.S. Government.
The treaties were basically a means by which the British Government, and subsequently the United States government, acquired land from those already settled on it – the Indian tribes. Treaties with Indians in the United States have the same importance as treaties with foreign nations. The treaties with the Indians meant the recognition of the tribes as sovereign nations, and treaties were ratified by Congress. However, an Act of Congress, March 3, 1871 (16 Stat. 566) stated that the treaty era was to end. Treaties already ratified and in effect, however, were not revoked.
The treaties detailed the agreements and the commitments made by each side. A combination of factors was behind the impetus of treaties between the United States government and Indian tribes. Settlers moving westward wanted the land; fur traders, general store owners, and others had extended credit to Indians and wanted to be paid; and the government itself wanted land it could sell or grant. Out of this was born the treaty system.
Note: NARA's descriptive pamphlet for this title can be viewed or downloaded here.