American Indian Treaties

A Guide to Ratified and Unratified Colonial, United States, State, Foreign, and Intertribal Treaties and Agreements, 1607-1911

When it comes to American Indian treaties, the American polity too often forgets the realities of history. Prevailing perceptions are often not only inaccurate but also premised on outright falsehoods. Treaty-making was profoundly influenced by tribal conceptions of diplomacy. Colonial and early U.S. treaties especially were clothed in ritual, metaphor, and covenants that emphasized the sacred nature and purpose of diplomacy and represented a time when tribal nations were equal partners. To understand the nature and meaning of tribal treaties one needs to read them and recognize their sacred pledges and meaning, which are still relevant today.

This volume examines intertribal treaties and treaty-making and provides understanding of both the agreements and the diplomatic protocols in which they were enmeshed. It summarizes colonial Indian treaty discourse, intertribal treaties and diplomacy, the different eras of ratified and unratified U.S. treaties, foreign and state treaties with Indian nations, and the Indian agreements that followed the cessation of official treaty-making. It provides extensive lists of over 1,500 Indian treaties from all tribal diplomatic eras and includes dates, participants, purposes, and references. 

David H. DeJong is director of the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project and has written extensively on the history of Gila River Indian Community water rights. His publications include Forced to Abandon Our Fields (University of Utah Press, 2011). 

Table of Contents:

1. The Context of Indian Treaties
2. Intertribal Treaties and Diplomatic Relations to 1902
3. Colonial Indian Treaties, 1607–1850
4. Ratified U.S. Indian Treaties, 1778–1868
5. Unratified U.S. Indian Treaties, 1778–1869
6. State and Foreign Indian Treaties, 1781–1862
7. Indian Agreements and Acts Requiring Consent, 1870–1911
8. Conclusion

Abbreviations Used in Treaty Citations
Intertribal Treaties, 1666–1902
Colonial Indian Treaties, 1607–1850
Ratified U.S. Indian Treaties, 1778–1868
Unratified U.S. Indian Treaties, 1778–1869
State and Foreign Indian Treaties, 1781–1862
Indian Agreements and Acts Requiring Consent, 1870–1911
Alphabetical Listing of All Treaties by Indian Nations, 1607–1911

Bibliographic Essay

Praise and Reviews:

“This volume stands out not only for the additional entries of Indian documents supplementing the earlier works of Deloria Jr., Prucha, DeMallie, and Fixico, but also because DeJong draws the reader into his lengthy discussion of traditional Indian agreement protocols and rituals for successful bilateral negotiations.”
—Blue Clark, author of Lone Wolf v Hitchcock: Treaty Rights and Indian Law at the End of the Nineteenth Century 

“This set of appendices alone will be worth the price of the book, as it is indeed the most detailed list I have seen. They reflect careful attention to detail and years of patient collection and collating of documents.”
—David E. Wilkins, coauthor of American Indian Politics and the American Political System

“Combines solid and concise analysis with thoroughly researched reference material… Dejong has made a strong contribution to the field of American Indian history and provides scholars an invaluable reference that will no doubt spawn future comparative scholarship on American Indian treaties.”
New Mexico Historical Review

“While the catalogs of treaties make up the bulk of this work, DeJong also provides an excellent overview of the history of Native treaty making…. Scholars interested in a comprehensive list of Native treaties and students looking for a cogent history of treaty making should consider including this work in their libraries.”
Pacific Northwest Quarterly

“David DeJong’s collection of Indian treaties fills an important gap in legal research and scholarship on the formal, and sometimes tortured, relationship between Indian tribes and other governments…. The text provides the necessary thorough background for any reader to understand the importance of Indian treaties, the context in which they were made, and the various ways in which treaties were broken and enforced as the nation’s perception of American Indians evolved.”—Great Plains Quarterly

“Even though the book is a legal history, DeJong never gets bogged down in legal jargon and does a superior job of distilling the complexities of tribal law cases.… American Indian Treaties is a worthwhile reference work for anyone conducting research related to American Indian treaties.” —The Chronicle of Oklahoma