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About Why Treaties Matter

Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations is a nationally recognized, award-winning, traveling exhibit made in partnership with the Minnesota Humanities CenterMinnesota Indian Affairs Council and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

From its inception, the knowledge, insight, and perspective of tribal members have been the foundation of the exhibit. From this foundation has emerged a vehicle for authentic Dakota and Ojibwe stories of sovereignty, adaptability, and sustainability.

To learn more about the exhibit visit the Minnesota Humanities Center website.

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Dakota and Ojibwe Tribal Nation Websites

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe

Red Lake Nation

White Earth Band of Ojibwe

Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe

Prairie Island Sioux Community

Upper Sioux Community

Lower Sioux Community

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

Highlighted Resources

American Indian Responses to Statehood (online video interviews)

In 2008, Minnesota recognized its sesquicentennial. Some, many even, celebrated. Others did not. In the months leading up to the sesquicentennial, the Minnesota Humanities Center began working with Dakota and Ojibwe people to record stories of how statehood affected their homes, their families, their future. These stories are painfully absent from traditional histories of Minnesota textbooks, and other educational resources.

Bdote Memory Map (website)

The Bdote Memory Map is a geography-based, digital media resource for Dakota people to express connections to traditional places and to help non-Native citizens see Minnesota from an indigenous point of view. See also:

Dakota and Ojibwe-U.S. Treaties Today (online video interviews)

Learn from tribal members in Minnesota as they discuss treaties from a personal and scholarly perspective. How do these videos challenge or reinforce your current perceptions of treaties?

How much do YOU know about treaties? (downloadable PowerPoint)

This PowerPoint quiz is a great resource for schools groups and other visitors who want to test their knowledge about treaties in this place we now call Minnesota.

Land and Borders: Indigenous Perspective (online video documentary)

Each year the Minnesota Humanities Center helps local museums across Minnesota bring Smithsonian Museum programming to their sites through the Museum on Main Street program. In 2009-2010 the exhibit was Between Fences, looking at the multiple meanings behind the every day icon of the fence. To enhance the programming, the Humanities Center partnered with Allies: Media/Art to create a documentary that was presented as part of the exhibit and afforded an American Indian relationship to land, borders, and boundaries.

Map of Major Land Cessions in Minnesota Treaties (downloadable pdf)

A pdf version of major land cessions in Minnesota treaties from 1830 to 1866.

Treaties Involving Indigenous People and Land within Minnesota Territory (downloadable pdf)

A pdf document that includes the year, treaty participant, place signed, date signed, and treaty contents for over 40 treaties involving Indigenous people/land within Minnesota Territory from 1805 to 1867.

Other Recommended Websites

Minnesota Indian Affairs Council

Established in 1963, the Indian Affairs Council is the oldest council in the nation and serves as a liaison of the Indian tribes and the state of Minnesota.

Minnesota Chippewa Tribe

The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, comprised of the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth reservations, is a federally recognized tribal government that, through unified leadership, promotes and protects the member Bands while providing quality services and technical assistance to the reservation governments and tribal people.

Ojibwe Waasa-Inaabidaa –  “We Look in All Directions”

A six-part historical documentary series for public television featuring the history and culture of the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes.

Indian Country Today Media Network

Intersecting Ojibwe Art Curriculum

2012 Why Treaties Matter Curriculum GuideDeveloped by Priscilla Buffalohead and Ramona Kitto-Stately

Language Resources

Dakota Language Resources

University of Minnesota: Department of American Indian Studies, Dakota Dictionary Online

Ojibwe Language Resources

Ojibwe People’s Dictionary

Bemidji State University American Indian Resource Center:

Books About History and Culture

Broker, Ignatia. Night Flying Woman. St. Paul:  Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1983.

Buffalohead, Priscilla. Traditional Indian Stories.  Coon Rapids: Anoka-Hennepin School District, 1991.

Benton-Banai, Edward. The Mishomis Book. Hayward:Indian Country Communications, Inc., 1988.

Coatsworth, Emerson and David. The  Adventures of Nanabush. Ojibwe Indian Stories, told by Sam Snake, Toronto : Doubleday Canada, 1979.

Deloria, Vine Jr. God is Red. New York:  The Putnam Publishing Group, 2003.

Eastman, Charles. Indian Boyhood. New York:  Dover Publications, 1971.

Erdrich, Heid. Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013.

Goble, Paul.  Buffalo Woman.  New York:  Bradbury Press,1984.

Goble, Paul.  Beyond the Ridge New York:  Bradbury Press, 1989.

Goble, Paul.  Death of Iron Horse. New York:  Bradbury Press, 1987.

Goble, Paul.  Dream Wolf.  New York:  Bradbury Press, 1990.

Goble, Paul.  The Friendly Wolf.  New York:  Bradbury Press, 1974.

Goble, Paul.  The Gift of the Sacred Dog.  New York:  Bradbury Press, 1980.

Goble, Paul.  The Girl Who Loved Horses.  New York:  Bradbury Press, 1978.

Goble, Paul.  The Great Race. New York:  Bradbury Press, 1985.

Goble, Paul.  Star Boy.  New York:  Bradbury Press, 1983.

Johnson, Basil. Tales the Elders Told. Ojibwe Legends. Toronto:  Royal Ontario Museum, 1981.

Martinson, David.  Cheer Up Old Man.  DuluthDuluth Indian Education Committee. 1975.

Martinson, David.  Shemay: The Bird in the Sugarbush. Duluth:  Duluth Indian Education Committee, 1975.

McLellan, Joseph. The Birth of Nanabozho. Winnepeg:  Pemmican Publications, 1989.

McLellan, Joseph.  Nanabozho Steals Fire. Winnepeg:  Pemmican Publications, 1990.

Schneider, David M. and George C. Holmes. “Kinship Terminology and the American Kinship System” American Anthropologist. 57(2) (1955):  1194-1208.

Warren, William.  A History of the Ojibwe People. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1885.

Treuer, Anton.  Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2011.

Treuer, Anton.  Ojibwe in Minnesota.  St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2010.

Other Literature Resources

Minnesota Historical Society – a listing of Native Voices books

American Indians in Children’s Literature


Big Question: Do Indian Treaty Rights Still Matter?
The Big Question is a monthly video series from Capital Ideas at Chicago Booth. Every month, we ask Booth faculty and invited guests for their perspectives on important issues.

Dreamkeeper. DVD. Hallmark Home Entertainment. 2004.