Treaties with American Indians

An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty

by Donald L. Fixico, Editor


How are certain Indian tribes able to operate casinos in states that outlaw gambling? Hunt whales where international laws prohibit it? Profit from oil leases on federal land? Govern themselves as nations? All of these privileges are guaranteed by treaties, and, while the broken treaty remains a valid symbol for the treatment of Native Americans, many of the 370+ pacts with the government were and are still honored.

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Cover image for Treaties with American Indians

December 2007


Pages 958
Volumes 3
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Race and Ethnicity/American Indian Studies
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This invaluable reference reveals the long, often contentious history of Native American treaties, providing a rich overview of a topic of continuing importance.

Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty is the first comprehensive introduction to the treaties that promised land, self-government, financial assistance, and cultural protections to many of the over 500 tribes of North America (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada). Going well beyond describing terms and conditions, it is the only reference to explore the historical, political, legal, and geographical contexts in which each treaty took shape.

Coverage ranges from the 1778 alliance with the Delaware tribe (the first such treaty), to the landmark Worcester v. Georgia case (1832), which affirmed tribal sovereignty, to the 1871 legislation that ended the treaty process, to the continuing impact of treaties in force today. Alphabetically organized entries cover key individuals, events, laws, court cases, and other topics. Also included are 16 in-depth essays on major issues (Indian and government views of treaty-making, contemporary rights to gaming and repatriation, etc.) plus six essays exploring Native American intertribal relationships region by region.


  • Over 300 A–Z entries covering important treaties such as the Treaty of 1778, U.S. and Indian leaders such as Chief Justice John Marshall and Red Cloud of the Sioux, and legal decisions such as Worcester v. Georgia
  • 16 in-depth thematic essays providing both government and Indian perspectives on major issues, plus six essays looking at U.S.–Indian relations region by region
  • A complete chronology of the major events that shaped the history of Native American treaty-making
  • Over 100 contributors who are distinguished scholars in their field, such as Carole Greenberg and R. David Edmunds
  • Photographs of significant individuals, treaty sites, and artifacts


  • Balanced coverage offers both U.S. government and Native American viewpoints on treaties and related issues
  • Pairs treaty-related scholarship of unprecedented depth and scope with actual treaty texts in a user-friendly three-volume set
  • Provides historical, political, legal, and geographical contexts for specific treaties
Author Info

Donald L. Fixico is Distinguished Foundation Professor of History at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. He has published several books on American Indian history.



"Any serious Native American collection needs this reference."Midwest Book Review

"The three-volume reference set may initially look like it is a source intended for academic libraries or specialized libraries. I think that a closer look will show it belongs in all high school library media centers as well as middle school and upper elementary schools library media centers where students research native peoples, the states, or American history. Students should not have to wait until they are in college to learn about American government treaties and treatment of Native peoples. . . . An approach undertaken without this comprehensive tool would deny students access to the rich collection of information about treaties with American Indians."ARBA

"Extraordinary may be overused, but it is the aptest term available to describe this compilation, which belongs in academic and public libraries with clientele interested in Native American matters and is also suited to collections dealing with American studies."Library Journal

"[A] unique reference that should draw serious attention from academic libraries collecting in this area. Larger public libraries might consider it as well."Against the Grain

"This impressive set has a place in any academic library that supports a Native American studies or American history curriculum. It also would be useful in public libraries where patrons are interested in the subject. It is the most comprehensive source of information on Canadian-Indian treaties and U.S.-Indian treaties."Booklist

"Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers."Choice

"[H]ighly recommended for all undergraduate and school libraries, and public libraries serving interested readers and researchers."Reference & User Services Quarterly


Outstanding Academic Title 2009 — CHOICE

Booklist Editors' Choice 2008 — ALA

Look Inside

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