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#1 May-26-2018 08:44:am

sschkaak
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The First Treaty Between the U.S. and an Indian nation still matters

Why the Very First Treaty Between the United States and a Native People Still Resonates Today

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithson … 180969157/

[Pictures at the link]

The Treaty With the Delawares, signed in 1778, has arrived at the National Museum of the American Indian:

By Ryan P. Smith
smithsonian.com
May 24, 2018

The narrative of the American Revolutionary War is often presented as a story of tidy alliances: Britons and Germans on one side, Americans and French on the other. But what of those over whose ancestral lands the conflict was waged—Native Americans?

Native peoples had been driven steadily westward in the decades prior to the war, as boatloads upon boatloads of land-hungry colonists pushed heedlessly (and often violently) into their territory. As revolution dawned, however, settlers began to realize that making allies rather than adversaries of Native Americans could prove to be a useful strategy, given the indigenous peoples’ manpower as well as their prodigious knowledge of the battlegrounds.

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence asserted the existence of a coherent United States, a national entity distinct from Britain and entitled to its own system of law. This declaration implied that the 13-state collective was within its rights to negotiate and ratify formal international treaties, just like any other country. Pursuing treaties with indigenous peoples quickly became a high priority for the United States.


The first-ever treaty concluded by the fledgling U.S. and a Native American nation was the Treaty With the Delawares, endorsed by representatives of both factions in 1778. Predictably, the Continentals had reached out to the Delaware people for reasons of military exigency. American forces were looking to stage a strike on the British stronghold of Detroit, which would necessitate travel through Delaware Indian territory. The Patriots’ hope was that the Delawares could be coaxed out of neutrality with a favorable treaty.

Following negotiations between Continental ambassadors and the moderate Delaware leader White Eyes, a treaty was signed on both sides. That groundbreaking document, on loan from the National Archives in the latest in a series of short-term treaty loans, joined the National Museum of the American Indian’s “Nation to Nation" exhibition earlier this month.

As museum director Kevin Gover stated during the unveiling ceremony, “Nation to Nation" gets at “the core relationship between the Indian nations and the United States" through a selection of treaties enacted across American history. The Treaty With the Delawares, which will provide visitors to the exhibition with a powerful historical embarkation point, will be on view through September of 2018.

Mark Hirsch, a historian at the museum, notes that the Delaware Treaty was much more conciliatory on the part of the U.S. than many of us today might expect. “In order to get the Delaware to pledge their peace and friendship to the United States, the United States felt that it really had to show some serious allegiance to the Delaware," he says. “So they put in a very interesting clause, which offered the Delaware the opportunity to become, with other pro-United States Indian tribes, a 14th state in the Union."

Unfortunately, that offer never got off the ground. Following the ratification of the treaty (which was very informal by today’s standards—Hirsch explains that Congressional approval was not yet a hard and fast requirement, and was not technically obtained), relations between the Delaware and the U.S. soured, with both sides questioning the legitimacy and implications of the document.

“The Delaware really did honor their side of the bargain," Hirsch says—they guided Continental troops through their territory and on to the British in what is now Michigan. Many Delawares feared their leaders had been conned—lured into a full-on military alliance with the Patriots when all they had wanted was to stay out of the conflict. “It seems that some of the Delaware looked back on this treaty and said, "'The chiefs didn’t understand what they were signing,'" Hirsch explains, “and that they were told things that were falsely translated by interpreters, and that they had no intention to join a military alliance with the United States."

These grievances began to bubble to the fore in earnest following the presumed murder of White Eyes, the Delawares’ open-minded leader, at the hands of none other than the Continental Army, mere months after the treaty he signed took effect. “He was assassinated while leading colonials to Detroit," current-day Delaware chief Chet Brooks lamented at the recent unveiling ceremony. “They sent word back to our people that White Eyes had died of smallpox, but our people knew that that couldn’t be, because White Eyes had had smallpox earlier and survived it. You don’t get it twice."

Who exactly killed White Eyes and why are questions with no clear answers, but it’s undisputed that the sudden betrayal hit the Delaware people hard. White Eyes was a compromiser, Hirsch explains, more accommodating to white settlers than virtually any other Delaware Indian. “He’s looking for a way to both safeguard tribal sovereignty and figure out a way of living with American settlers and have his people survive," Hirsch explains. “And he’s assassinated." Understandably, Hirsch says the murder of such a temperate, approachable man made the rest of the Delawares fearful for their own lives.

This heinous incident, coupled with wide-ranging failures on the part of the U.S. to live up to its bargains with other Indian nations, thoroughly disillusioned the Delaware people, driving them to swing their allegiance the other way, in the direction of the British. “They were very angry," Hirsch says, “and really felt like the United States had only one interest: to dispossess them of their tribal territories." From 1779 through to the end of the war, the Delawares were in the Redcoat camp.

Hirsch and Gover are grateful for the National Archives’ ongoing work to bring this rich, oft-forgotten American history to the American Indian Museum’s public audience. Hirsch says that the “Nation to Nation" exhibition provides an essential and vivid reminder that Indian nations are sovereign entities with unalienable rights all their own, and are deserving of international recognition and respect.

“The fact that you have treaties between the United States and tribes means that those tribes are actually viewed as nations that are sovereign, like any foreign nation," Hirsch says. “We felt that a lot of our visitors, most of our visitors in fact, did not know that."  “Nation to Nation," he says, is the perfect way of hammering that point home.

“When we first began working together on the ‘Nation to Nation’ exhibition"  in 2014, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero told the crowd of guests assembled for the unveiling, “the plan was a four-year run with eight treaties. It’s been such a success that we’re working together to extend the exhibition and treaty loans until 2021."  He is optimistic the show will continue even beyond then.

To this day, 18th and 19th-century treaties are invoked in courts of law in cases pertaining to the enduring question of Native American land rights. Hirsch’s ultimate hope is that visitors to “Nation to Nation"  will come away with a grasp of how treaties have shaped this country and its relation to native peoples, and how those treaties continue to influence us even now.

“We want people to understand that these treaties aren’t just old pieces of paper with no contemporary relevance,"  Hirsch says. “Treaties, according to the Constitution, are the highest law of the land. And many are still in effect."

While acknowledging the historically abysmal track record of the United States when it comes to honoring its treaties with Indian peoples, Hirsch says that it’s not too late to turn the trend around and use the treaties on the books for good. “They’re in effect, they’re still the law of the land, and they recognize tribes as nations,"  he says. “And I think having the actual treaties in the gallery makes that point very forcefully."

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#2 May-28-2018 08:52:am

Newallike
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Registered: Apr-23-2010
Posts: 56

Re: The First Treaty Between the U.S. and an Indian nation still matters

Good morning Sschkaak, and a happy Memorial Day to all.

I am pleased to see this article posted here, it fits well with my plans for the immediate future.  For those who have been following the posts below this one titled,  Newcomb: Something missing from PBS's "Tecumseh's Vision", you know that one of my intentions is to put a cross at the burial mound for the 96 Christian Indians that were martyred on March 8, 1782 at the Massacre at Gnadenhutten, Ohio.  What you do not know is that item #2 on my agenda is to publicize and raise awareness about this treaty and the failed promise by the United States to form an Indian State with a Delaware at the head, and a seat in Congress.

At the Remembrance at the Park last March 8th, I told the group gathered around the burial mound that the ground they were standing on was meant to be the 14th State, an Indian State, but that through a broken treaty, Vermont instead became the 14th State.  I told the crowd there that they should be watching for an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times and the LA Times in the near future titled, "Bernie Sanders, you're in my seat!"

I hope to follow this up with a request to Bernie Sanders to give up his seat in Congress for one day, September 17th, to a Delaware Indian to sit in the seat that was to be theirs from the beginning.  September 17th, is the anniversary date of the signing of the Fort Pitt Treaty, and it is also Constitution Day this year in Washington DC.  Very fitting and apropos that this should take place on this day, in that place.  Ceremony matters!

If this should be allowed to occur, the question then remains, Who sits in the seat for the day?

A Delaware from the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Bartlesville, Ok,  A Delaware from the  Delaware Nation  based in Anadarko, Ok.,  A Delaware from the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of Wisconsin, or a Delaware from the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown?

Too bad the tribes allowed the US Government to split them all up and call the one family of Delaware by different names, to keep the money straight.  It is only my opinion, but they should all be named under one name, for non-governmental purposes, something like the Delaware Nation of Turtle Island.

Enough for now.  If the subject interests you, watch this thread for updates which will be forthcoming.

Enjoy the day and remember the fallen.


In essentials, unity
In non-essentials, liberty
In all things, charity

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#3 Oct-19-2018 04:05:pm

Newallike
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Registered: Apr-23-2010
Posts: 56

Re: The First Treaty Between the U.S. and an Indian nation still matters

Let's start with the basics.  A treaty is a contract.

Treaty Definition: A formal agreement between two parties signed by official representatives of each party. Treaties are contracts by which the signatories agree to conduct themselves in a certain way or to do a certain thing.

Listed below are the elements of a contract the MUST be contained therein to be valid and enforceable.

1 Offer
An offer is the beginning of a contract. One party must propose an arrangement to the other, including definite terms. 
When the offer is communicated to the other party, he has the right to accept, reject or amend the offer.

2 Acceptance
An offer can be accepted in writing, or in person. The acceptance must simply be communicated to the offering party, with an obvious declaration that the accepting party intends to be bound by the terms.

3 Consideration
Consideration is something of value that the parties are contracting to exchange. Generally, one party exchanges money or services for property or services, but the parties can both exchange property or services, as long as a court would find that each party's consideration has sufficient value.

4 Competence/Capacity
Competence, also called legal capacity, is a party's ability to enter into a contract.  A person who does not understand the terms of a contract he entered, has the right to rescind his acceptance of an offer, voiding the contract.

5 Mutual Consent
Generally, the law assumes that a competent party freely consents to a contract. However, if consent was obtained on the basis of fraud, due to duress or because of the exercise of undue influence, a party's consent is considered involuntary and the contract is void.

6 Legality
A contract is only enforceable if the activity in the contract is legal.

7 Writing
Not all contracts need to be in writing, but under the Statute of Frauds, certain contracts must be in writing in order to be enforceable. A written contract is required for all transactions involving real estate.

I am not a lawyer but one does not need to be a lawyer to know that there were some fundamental problems with the understandings between the early Americans and the tribes they treated with.  See what you think about comments on the 7 elements of a contract listed above.

No problems with #'s 1 & 2, and 6 & 7.

#3 Consideration - Would any court in the land find that the exchange of consideration from each party had sufficient value?  Vast amounts of land were exchanged for  small amounts of cash, sundry goods, and trinkets and even these things were frequently withheld. 

#4 Competence/Capacity - It is well known that the tribes had an entirely different concept of land sharing that was presented by the Americans.  Land ownership was an entirely foreign concept and so it is clear they did not understand the terms of the contract and thus, the contract should be void.

#5 Mutual Consent - A paralegal could demonstrate successfully that fraud was perpetrated due to signing under duress because of the exercise of undue influence by the Americans.  Leave or die.

It would be easy to over complicate this issue with reams of paper and legal language.  However, I don't feel it would be an oversimplification to approach the courts with items 3, 4, and 5 only and let common sense prevail. 

If one treaty were overturned and made void by any one of these, the rest would begin to topple like dominoes.

Any lawyers out there care to agree or disagree, with cogent arguments?


In essentials, unity
In non-essentials, liberty
In all things, charity

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#4 Oct-20-2018 09:56:am

Newallike
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Registered: Apr-23-2010
Posts: 56

Re: The First Treaty Between the U.S. and an Indian nation still matters

For your consideration:

5 Mutual Consent
Generally, the law assumes that a competent party freely consents to a contract. However, if consent was obtained on the basis of fraud, due to duress or because of the exercise of undue influence, a party's consent is considered involuntary and the contract is void.

#5 Mutual Consent - A paralegal could demonstrate successfully that fraud was perpetrated due to signing under duress because of the exercise of undue influence by the Americans.  Leave or die.

"At the 1855 treaty council in Walla Walla, Washington,  Governor Isaac Stevens became frustrated with the Indians’ reluctance to simply sign the treaty he had brought with him that he held the treaty up and told them: “If you do not accept the terms offered and sign this paper you will walk in blood knee deep."


In essentials, unity
In non-essentials, liberty
In all things, charity

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