American Indian Treaties Summary

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Francis Paul Pucha in American Indian Treaties related how Indian treaties are in constant litigation, despite many of them are upheld by court decisions today. Despite recent Indian legal successes, shamefully the federal government wrote most, if not all, treaties without the best concerns for the Indians. While "treaty" implies a contract between sovereign nations, Indians were not always in a position of equal negotiators. The government demonstrated little intent to fulfill promises when force failed. During this same period three significant Supreme Court decisions (the Marshall Trilogy, 1823-1832) passed. These cases set precedence for the status of Indians in the country, while the Indian Removal policy clashed with those decisions.…show more content…
Their defiance then was framed during an era that defined Native American sovereign status and nationhood in relation to American constitutional interpretation. Their struggle was an early example of civil rights movement that took place within the constraints of three Supreme Court decisions and four federal treaties. The treaties with the Seminoles helped shape their relationship with the federal government. Representation through the Bureau, and as defined through the Supreme Court decisions, was a federal obligation (or rationalization) to protect their lands, grant them ability to self-govern, and provide means for their survival and advancement. Although federal recognition for the Seminoles was not achieved until decades later, these early treaties set the groundwork for the Seminoles to gain the status of sovereignty that established a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the nation status. Seminole defiance of federal and Creek tribal pressures contributed to their right to govern themselves, define their own membership and property; and regulate their business and domestic
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