Today, Natives are often thought of in terms of race, and we are considered people of color. But American Indians specifically are also designated by the federal government as a political classification. This is because we belong to ancient Indigenous tribes that predate the existence of the United States of America and we made treaties with them. These treaties recognized our sovereignty as independent nations.
Treaties, and the U.S. government’s history of unilaterally breaching them, have had a profound effect on Native people. To be blunt, we were lied to. Treaties were used as a ruse to coax tribes out of defending their territory and to steal Native lands and resources.
The U.S. made hundreds of treaties with Native nations. The list is exhaustive. I am Dakota and Lakota from the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation), so I will focus on treaties that my people have signed with the government and how that has affected us.