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TRAVELING “WHY TREATIES MATTER” EXHIBITION HAS A NEW WEBSITE WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND VIDEOS ABOUT HISTORY OF TREATY MAKING IN WHAT IS NOW MINNESOTA

11-03-2011

Contact:  Liz Hill (202) 744-7629; liz@lizhillpr.com

TRAVELING “WHY TREATIES MATTER” EXHIBITION HAS A NEW WEBSITE WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND VIDEOS ABOUT HISTORY OF TREATY MAKING IN WHAT IS NOW MINNESOTA

(SAINT PAUL, Minn., Oct. 31 – “Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations,” explores the Native nations in Minnesota and their history of treaty making with the United States, has a new companion website, which launched this month. 

The website, which can be found at www.treatiesmatter.org, features the exclusive voices of Dakota and Ojibwe elders, leaders, and community members and amplifies historical and contemporary information and viewpoints not available in the exhibition, which began traveling in Minnesota early August. The website presents information on relationships that shaped some of the most transformative events in the history of the continent – the treaties between the Dakota and Ojibwe people and the U.S. government.

“Treaties are agreements between self-governing, or sovereign, nations," says Kevin Leecy, chairman of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe and chairman of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. “They are about more than who owns what; treaties tell a story about how people relate to one another and how people relate to the land.”

The website builds on a foundation of community involvement and is a vehicle for authentic Dakota and Ojibwe voices. This unique website focuses on two major themes: “Relationships” and “Treaties.” Under “Relationships,” visitors can learn more about land, family ties and business relationships. An extensive video gallery includes tribal leaders, community members and scholars sharing perspectives on “Allotment,” “Connection to Land,” “Honoring Treaties,” and many other topics.

The “Treaties” section includes “Land Cession Treaties” and a “Treaty Timeline.”  Through a series of treaties over a 30-year period from 1837 to 1867, Ojibwe and Dakota negotiated retained rights to access resources in land they ceded.  These treaties and negotiated retained rights are part of a larger picture that affected Indigenous people and land in what is now Minnesota.

“Relationships today are shaped by agreements made long ago – the treaties,” says David O’Fallon, President and CEO of the Minnesota Humanities Center. “Often unknown or misunderstood, they reflect a contrast of values and raise issues that are timely now – of sustainability versus consumption; of family and community versus institutions; of land as shared and even sacred space versus private ownership as the highest good – and many more.”

“We have much to learn from the sovereign nations that engaged in these treaty agreements and much that we need to know to shape our common future,” says O’Fallon.

History of the Traveling Exhibition

In August 2010, a resolution creating a unique partnership of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. was approved by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and made it possible for the exhibition to be developed as an educational tool for Minnesota audiences.

“Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations” is a collaboration of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in partnership with the 11 sovereign nations now residing in Minnesota. The project is funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with a vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, and The Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation.

For more information and itinerary updates visit www.mnhum.org/treaties.

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About the Minnesota Humanities Center

Focused on the future of the state, the Humanities Center brings the unique resources of the humanities to the challenges and opportunities of our times.  We work in partnership across the state to build thoughtful, literate, and engaged people.  Throughout the humanities, this Center builds community, and brings into public life the untold stories that deepen our connections to each other.

About the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council

The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council was established in 1963 MN Statutes Chapter 888, Sec. 2 (3:922). The Council is a liaison between the State of Minnesota and the 11 tribal governments in the state. The Council provides a forum for and advises state government on issues of concern to urban Indian communities. The Council administers three programs designed to enhance economic opportunities and protect cultural resources for the state's American Indian constituencies.

About the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian

Established in 1989, through an Act of Congress, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The museum includes the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall; the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent museum in lower Manhattan; and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, Md.