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Native American Indian Law Research Guide: Treaties

This guide provides an overview of selected Native American Indian law materials available at the Marquette University Eckstein Law Library and selected online materials pertaining to Native American Indian law.

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties


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Beginning in 1778 with a treaty with the Delaware, the United States made hundreds of treaties with Native American Indian tribes. In 1871, the practice of making treaties with Indian tribes stopped with the passage, on March 3, 1871, of the Indian Appropriations Act, 1871. Codified at 25 USC 71 (with amendments), the text reads: "No Indian nation or tribe within the territory of the United States shall be acknowledged or recognized as an independent nation, tribe, or power with whom the United States may contract by treaty; but no obligation of any treaty lawfully made and ratified with any such Indian nation or tribe prior to March 3, 1871, shall be hereby invalidated or impaired..." After 1871, the government used formal agreements between the government and Indian tribes to replace treaties. These agreements included executive orders. Treaties that had been ratified prior to 1871 remained valid.