A new White Earth constitution drafted by Vizenor and the tribal council would have drastically shifted the government structure and changed requirements for tribal membership. When implementation stalled, Vizenor wrote a federal official in the hopes of moving things along, a move critics said overstepped her authority.
Vizenor said critics were just trying to stop reforms.
“The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has no separation of powers,” she said. “It’s open to corruption. We need change, but they don’t want to lose power.”
This Day in History: The Treaty of Fort McIntosh, First Treaty with the Ojibwe
On this day in history, January 21, 1785, the U.S. government signed its first treaty with the Ojibwe people near present-day Beaver, PA at what was then Fort McIntosh. The Lenape (Delaware), Ottawa, and Wyandot also were involved in the treaty.
The treaty ceded much land in present-day Ohio. The back story is one of bad-faith dealings. According to Ohio History Central:
Most of the American Indian representatives were younger leaders who did not have the authority to negotiate a treaty. Despite this, the American commissioners pressed for a treaty. After several weeks of negotiations and after some of the American Indians delegates had become drunk on alcohol provided by the Americans, the assembled delegates signed the Treaty.
Like other treaties, the government failed to prevent encroachment by settlers on lands promised to the tribes. Conflicts soon broke out.
Interactive Map Shows Loss of Indian Lands
Continuing on the theme of land loss, HMS member Bob Klanderud passed along this item from The Vault, Slate.com’s history site. It reproduced an interactive map showing Native American land loss between 1776 and 1887. The map was produced by University of Georgia historian Claudio Saunt to accompany his new book West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776.
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