Treaties Made, Treaties Broken

Kelly wrote that colonization created the condition of poverty on many American Indian reservations today.  Many Americans have misperceptions that poverty should not exist on reservations because Native people’s basic needs are taken care of under treaties.

Over 500 treaties were made with American Indian tribes, primarily for land cessations, but 500 treaties were also broken, changed or nullified when it served the government’s interests.

The video below about policies toward the Lakota gives many examples of this, and the practice was not limited to tribes in the Plains. It is also true that some tribes have no treaties and many tribes remain unrecognized as tribes by the federal government; this leaves them without reservation trust land and federal programming. The fact is that many Native American people are suffering and we should all care about that.

46 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. Jay Glee Henry

    I concur, U.S. has a long history of such broken treaties and after they have made the natives dependants, they have tend to pull the plug and slowly complicate our share of the promised proposal.Once they're in, they never leave and we as a people gradually lose our identity and cultural respect.Keep the power of owning your land and the rights of your offsprings in the coming generations…….

    • Nick Savage

      Thats the whole idea from Native Americans, we actually do not think a person should own land. The land is free for all. But the way normal Americans think is they should own everything, they want to put rules on all things in America, not just land, but cattle, mammals and the such. Americans think everything should be owned and have boundaries.
      Native American thought is we are born from the earth and die in the earth. We belong where we stay but we do not own it, it is our job to take care of what we use and to let it replace itself for generations to come.

  2. Molly

    It’s much easier to undesrtnad when you put it that way!

  3. Stephen Odinwild

    THANKS FOR THE INFO…THIS IS WHY I HATE THIS SO CALLED AMERICA..

  4. Brendan W.

    What I wonder is why doesn’t Oprah go to
    Pine Ridge? Please send that message to this
    america’s wealthiest. I am on Medicarw & medicade
    due to a spinal cord injury. I can see the
    problem but those in there ivory towers, actors
    who say I give to the aspca thats fine but what
    about the human beings that America has forgotten.
    Where is the special interest there. John Trudell
    can’t do it all. We must spread the word.
    WE THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE AND BY THE PEOPLE.
    I believe in that. Its election time. I think our best
    chance is our current Presiident Obama. Please send this
    message far and loud.

    • Brendan W.

      I’m sorry if I offended anyone with a couple of my
      comments.

    • Bill Don 12

      Brandon W I agree with sending this to Oprah, not sure she would be interested in helping the Indian people. But I agree that more people need to see what Pine Ridge Rez conditions are. The young people there are fighting against all odds. This country should be taking care of those that were lied to, stolen from, and treated as war prisoners (still to this day)
      But I disagree with the Obama comment. (No hope)

  5. Jeremy Johnson

    Here's proof that politics is a vain, selfish pursuit. 500 treaties made and 500 broken when people in office were voted out…

  6. Annette Baugh

    The cause of Poverty is the iron-wrong system that was implement since day 1 to decapitate and handicapped the already poor and oppressed groups, mainly African Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans Americans, Hispanics and other Minority groups. The Constitution was written initially to benefit the white powerful and rich citizens, mainly whites. Douglas in his debate at Springfield Ill. with Lincoln, quoted "The Constitution was not written to include Blacks". Since then the Constitution has been challenged by trying to perfect it has time go along, the trouble is though, it is not be perfected fast enough to accommodate the needs of the present time. untill the Constitution is corrected in a more expedient term things will be too slow to justify and Poverty will be the down fall of a great nation.

  7. Peter Parkin

    This presumably is the same American government that is lecturing Israel about giving up lands to the Palestinians and tried lecturing the UK about dealing with the Northern Ireland problem.

    Go look at the plank in your own eye before you help to take the speck out of mine.

  8. Truthis Thenewhate

    maybe the forefathers missed the memo to accommodate every non white people on the planet. Or…….like them they were concerned with THEIR posterity.

  9. Gunnar

    Even though I love this great country for its potential and the ideals expressed in its constitution and the declaration of independence, its past treatment of Native Americans is a serious blight that will never go away.

    It still remains true, though, that Americans have accomplished some great and very admirable things, and this is still a bastion of liberty, tolerance and opportunity for nearly all. Let’s work to make that a reality for all Amerindians as well.

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  11. Bree Hood

    …we remain wards of the Federal government, in terms of our standing in a local or federal court. Any suit brought would have to come from the tribe, as the individuals are limited to court proceedings within the tribal government. See, due to treaty violations and collusion of all 3 branches of the US government we legally lack sovereignty as individuals, and we lack american citizenship, unless we release our tribal membership. This catch 22, makes it nearly impossible to legally bring any such case. By the way, every inch of land that encompasses the United states, was obtained by false premise…we would love to take it all back, which is why the US has endeavored to assimilate or annihilate us.

    • Harrover Angi

      Then if we are also not American citizens then why do we have to obey federal laws as well as pay federal taxes?

      • Moderator

        Thanks for your question. In government terms, it’s quite the opposite. Being an unrecognized tribe would simply mean the people are part of the general American populus or citizenry, subject to all the same laws, regulations and taxes as other citizens. Additionally, just to be clear, and contrary to popular belief, members of federally recognized tribes also pay taxes.

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  13. Don Piglowski

    like the old saying goes…….trust your govt ? just ask an Indian

  14. Kachina Lively

    Same happened to my Mother's Father's land in Oklahoma.

  15. J Reuben Silverbird

    Sorry Aaron Huey, According to many USA anthropologists You have to research your statistics more thoroughly. 100 million Original Natives died since 1492, and not 9 million as you stated on TED!!!!

  16. Kris Weaver

    Bree Hood

    When a people are entirely wiped out, completely genocided off of the face the Earth by another group of people, who has claim to the land?

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  28. Bess Schlitt

    Some thing must be done about this, The government must Honor the treaties, I'm sick and tired of them doing what ever they want…now they are breaking the treaty with their own people, Our Constitution.

  29. IamIndigenous

    Greetings all. New here and loving the content.

    Nowadays, a treaty would be called a contract. How hypocritical is it, to hold one person, or a nation to “the letter of the Law”, when “they” themselves are STILL in breach countless times over?

    Anyone out here ever heard of a document called “Manifest Destiny”? Within those pages, one finds justification for all of the atrocities-if you’re on the winning side that is. Nothing more than a continuation of what went on in Europe all throughout its history… Only, brought over to this side of the Atlantic…

    We are the remnants of a failed genocide event. Our Holocaust then, our survival now.

    Meanwhile, as we shrink from view, situations such as the Standing Rock Sioux crisis erupts. And this is just the latest we know about…

    Wado for reading!

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