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About the Treaty Signers Project​​

Pursuing the truth about the American Myth

The Treaty Signers Project

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, community-based organization serving American Indian nations and people in the recovery and control of their rightful homelands. The Foundation works to promote education, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands.

 

ILTF provided initial funding for the Treaty Signers Project and is responsible for this new project website. In 2018 the Minnesota Historical Society published The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became U.S. Property by Martin Case, a demonstration of how this research can deepen our understanding of U.S.-Indian relations. The goal of ILTF’s Treaty Signers Project is to make this research accessible for free to scholars, educators and the general public, and to foster real discussion about accurate history, not the idealized legends of westward expansion that America so often celebrates today.

 

In 2007, independent scholar Martin Case began to research the identities of men who represented the U.S. at treaties with Indigenous nations. Some U.S. signers are famous individually (Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor), but the U.S. Treaty Signers Project was the first systematic effort to document who these men were as a group. Case demonstrated that the interests represented by U.S. signers at the treaties, and the networks that connected them to one another, challenged the mythology in which U.S.-Indian treaties are often shrouded. ILTF recognized an opportunity to shed more light on the complex process that transferred the continent’s resources to U.S. control.

 

Learn more about the Indian Land Tenure Foundation.

 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Do you have more information on U.S.-Indian treaties and their impact in your area? Do you know of other local agreements from the treaty era? Please email us at info@iltf.org.

 

Land cession treaties with Native American nations transformed human relationships to the natural world and became a profitable business. U.S. government agents, through duplicity and force, persuaded Native Americans to sign treaties that gave away their rights to the land. In this book published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, author Martin Case provides a comprehensive study of the treaty signers, exposing their business ties and multigenerational interrelationships through birth and marriage and how they used the treaty process to enrich themselves and their associates.

 

Search the database

The dashboard offers an interactive view of the Treaty Signers database which is a compilation of the Treaties signed between the U.S. and Indigenous nations with information about the people who signed them and why. This tool makes it easy to visualize the impact of treaty signing at the national and global level and filter the database by treaty, individual signers, land cession numbers, states and data range. Click the ‘Get Started’ button to begin exploring.