The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, DC will display the 1829 Prairie du Chien Treaty, a document in which several Native communities in the Great Lakes region ceded land to the US government, for several months.
The Prairie du Chien Treaty is part of the National Archives and is the 16th treaty to be temporarily exhibited at the museum as part of the “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” exhibit since 2014. The treaty, which was signed by 35 tribal representatives including five women, will be on display at NMAI until April 2023.
Meghan Ryan Guthorn, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the National Archives, said at an event on November 9 marking the installation of the treaty:
The Indian Treaties at the National Archives are some of our most historically significant records, and they remain relevant today as tribal leaders and lawyers continue to use them to assert their rights in court, such as in cases over land and water rights.
Meghan Ryan Guthorn, Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the National Archives
The National Archives, in collaboration with NMAI and tribal leaders and communities, aims to make treaties and other records important to Native American communities more accessible for research and education and to tell more inclusive stories about the histories of our nations.
Due to their historical and intrinsic value, the treaties are classified as Specially Protected Holdings and are stored in a vault at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Specially Protected Holdings have restricted physical access and are unavailable to be pulled for use in the Central Research Room.
In collaboration with the National Archives Foundation and an anonymous donor, the 374 ratified Native American treaties in National Archives custody are digitalised and available online in the National Archives Catalog as well as in the Indigenous Digital Archive. These treaties can also be found in the National Archives’ Microfilm Publication M2, Indian Treaties, 1778-1883.
The National Archives works with tribal leaders and communities to make these records and other important documents to Native American communities more accessible for research and education and to tell more inclusive stories about the histories of nations.
- American Indians: Picryl