A new digital archive contains 374 US-Native American treaties, available for the first time ever

From Smithsonian Magazine:

Thanks to a newly completed digitization effort by the U.S. National Archives and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe, researchers and the public now have unprecedented access to hundreds of these critical agreements.

The online collection features 374 ratified Indian treaties from the archives' holdings. According to ablog post, these documents are housed in a specially protected area of the National Archives building and are unavailable for use in the Central Research Room due to their fragility and significance. More than 50 of the treaties are written on large sheets of parchment; several contain drawings, maps and wampum, or decorative beads used as currency in some Native American tribes.

Those hoping to delve into the trove can use Indigenous Digital Archive (IDA) Treaties Explorer, a free tool optimized for easily searching and studying the documents.

While it's depressing that such a project took so long, it's still an important and exciting archival milestone. Now, anyone can see how the US legal system has continuously disregarded its own internal policies and claims in order to punish the very same people from whom the land was stolen in the first place. Maybe this can at least be a first step towards reconciling some of those very valid grievances.

Hundreds of Native American Treaties Digitized for the First Time [Nora McGreevy / Smithsonian Magazine]

Image: Public Domain via National Archives