Understanding Native American Treaty Rights

Native American treaty rights refer to the legal agreements made between the federal government and various tribes and nations of Native Americans. These treaties were created to establish boundaries, rights to land and resources, and other terms of coexistence between the government and Indigenous peoples.

Historical Overview

Treaties were first made with Native American tribes and nations in the late 1700s, with the most being signed in the 1800s. These treaties were often used by the government as a tool of colonization and displacement of Indigenous peoples. Many treaties were broken by the government and Native American rights were frequently disregarded.

Current Status of Treaty Rights

Today, treaty rights are still an important and ongoing issue for Native American tribes and nations. Some treaties have been upheld by the courts, while others have been broken. The federal government has a trust responsibility to uphold treaties and protect the rights of Indigenous peoples, but this responsibility is often not met.

Importance of Treaty Rights

Treaty rights are important for a variety of reasons. They establish the sovereignty of Native American tribes and nations and provide a basis for self-government. They also protect land, resources, and cultural practices that are essential for the survival and well-being of Indigenous peoples.


Native American treaty rights are a complex and ongoing issue with deep historical roots. It is important for the government to uphold these treaties and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples. Understanding the history and current status of treaty rights is crucial for anyone interested in the rights of Native Americans and the ongoing struggle for self-determination and sovereignty.

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