U.S. Treaty Signers Project launched, and other news

In this blog:

  • New online resource “U.S. Treaty Signers Project” pushes back on the American myth
  • Documentary “Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code” now available through online streaming
  • Enbridge files shallow “Environmental Justice” update
  • U.N. raises human rights concerns over last summer’s arrest at anti-Trump rally at Mt. Rushmore

Getting caught up sharing a few items that languished in the Inbox.

New online resource: “U.S. Treaty Signers Project”

Key insights from the 2018 book: The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became US Property, is now available online, through a collaboration between author Martin Case and the Indian Land Tenure Foundation.

The U.S. Treaty Signers Project “documents how narrow business interests and social connections heavily influenced the treaty making process and were largely responsible for the loss of so much Indian land,” the Foundation’s website says. It continues:

The “American Myth” presents “pioneers” as the driving force of America’s past. By contrast, the Treaty Signers Project presents the economic engines that actually drove U.S. expansion – interests that saw both Indian land and pioneers as sources of personal profit. The 2,300 men who represented the US in treaty negotiations secured hundreds of millions of acres of land for themselves, their families and their business partners – land that was sold to pioneers at a profit and includes the original sites for hundreds of cities and towns. They secured the titles to mines and timberland, and used positions in the Bureau of Indian Affairs to enrich themselves and their associates.

The project’s goal is “to foster real discussion about accurate history, not the idealized legends of westward expansion that America so often celebrates today.”

“Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code” now available for online streaming

In 2014, Sheldon Wolfchild (Dakota) released a documentary on the Doctrine of Discovery, a term used to describe 15th century Papal edicts that provided the legal and religious justification for European monarchs to seize and colonize foreign lands.

Until recently, the documentary was only available to purchase of a DVD. It’s now available for rent on-line, $4.99 for a three-day period.

Wolfchild produced the documentary in collaboration with scholar Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape), author of Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery.

The documentary’s on-line blurb reads: “Vatican documents issued by various popes during the fifteenth century created global patterns of domination, leading ultimately to the current ecological crisis. The wisdom teachings of original nations and peoples provide a way forward for the well-being of the planet and our future generations.”

Form over substance: Enbridge files first ‘Environmental Justice Community Mitigation Report’ update

On Dec. 23, Enbridge filed it’s first Environmental Justice Community Mitigation Report update as required by state regulators. The report is symbolic of what’s wrong with the Minnesota Public Utility Commission’s (PUC’s) Line 3 approval. It makes state oversight look much more substantial than it actually is.

Much of the report is Enbridge simply restating what it promised to do rather than actually providing an update.

One example. The PUC required Enbridge to have a Tribal Economic Opportunity and Labor Education Plan. Here’s the entire “update.”

Enbridge sponsored a Fond du Lac Business Development Meeting in January 2019 to identify and recruit tribal members who are interested in starting a business that works on the Project. Enbridge hosted job fairs on the Red Lake Nation and Fond du Lac Reservations in April 2019. Enbridge also participated in the Great Lakes TERO meetings in February, May and July 2019. Enbridge will report results of the Tribal Economic Opportunity plan in a separate filing. Additionally, Enbridge has sponsored 5-week Empowerment Training classes for tribal members and there were approximately 100 graduates. These classes started in August and November 2019

Enbridge talks about all the stuff it did … in 2019. There’s no comment on what Enbridge did in 2020. Not much of an update.

U.N. raises human rights concerns over last summer’s response to anti-Trump protest at Mount Rushmore

President Trump went to Mount Rushmore to give a July 4th speech last year and not surprisingly was met with protests.

Independent United Nations (UN) human rights experts are raising serious concern over the arrest and charges brought against Nicholas Tilsen (Lakota) and president and CEO of NDN Collective.

Tilsen was charged with four felonies and three misdemeanours after he and others blocked a road leading to a fireworks celebration event. (If convicted, he could face more than 16 years in prison, according to the High Country News.)

“Obviously we cannot pre-judge the outcome of the case against Nicholas Tilsen, but we are seriously concerned about his arrest and the charges brought against him in connection with the exercise of his rights as an indigenous person, particularly the right to assembly”, the five UN Special Rapporteurs said.  

The Special Rapporteurs also voiced alarm over “allegations of excessive use of force by law enforcement agents against indigenous defenders, and recent reports of surveillance and intimidation by local police officers following the arrests.”

The Black Hills are central to the Lakota people’s origin story and spirituality. Many Lakota people, like Tilsen, view Mount Rushmore “as a desecration of a spiritual landscape,” High Country News reported. “‘What South Dakota and the National Park Service call ‘a shrine to democracy’ is actually an international symbol of white supremacy,’” Tilsen said.

3 thoughts on “U.S. Treaty Signers Project launched, and other news

  1. Thanks.I attended a lecture sponsored by the MN Humanities Center that Martin Case gave when his book was published; such important new scholarship about who represented the United States at the treaty signings, i.e, the industrialists and other land speculators. What an “eye-opener” it was to hear about this.The land was stolen “legally” and then re-sold to the settlers piecemeal to enrich the thieves further.. Fast-forward to line 3; It would not have ever been built in the first place and certainly not expanded, threatening our waterways and the life within, at this moment, if this greed and avarice had not been allowed. What a shameful history.


  2. Am an Adotee,whoms been truly impacted by the unbelievable amount of support in gaining Insights into ALLof My lifestyle devastatingly sad heartfelt grief and sadness I feel about what’s happened as A true emotional heartfelt and My souls pain ,ALL all painstakingly real.. Am at a loss for words too feel the impacts of the true reality and scope of what’s soo devastatingly true in the impacts of the reality and dealing with All the realistically upfront situation in My life. Feel the effects of colonization, genocide,stolen,sixties scoop,residential school, human rights, assimilation, Canadian human rights tribunal, child welfare injustices, loss of language, teachings ,traditions, seven teachings and traditions, family,loss if My Fatger, loss of My mother’s?(can’t describe the pain My Mothers done) sorry, thank you Henry traverse. Thanks too MMIW. Mary Podesh,Robert Pilot, Sandra WhiteHawj,Aim, Jerry Dearly, American Indian family true, dept of Indian works, Sheryl, Sandra White Hawk, Charlotte , Betty B, Lori Dearly, Wendy, Curtis, Kelly,Adoptees Pow Wow. Am loved, sacred, and A worthwhile Ontario first nations ADOPTEE. Whom is struggling by Drinking .Thinking , but only sabotaging Myself.. Am still here, and Am discovering ,Hopefukky making and choosing a Path and asking for support,,comfort,healing too overcome the trials and tribulations of All that’s afflicted Me in Losses unbearably true, and Am Finding My Way too heal,Recover, and Make up for All the losses I’ve had in Myife. Was innocence, and Am not going too relinquish Myself too giving up. I’ve not hit bottom yet. Feel thankfully blessed by All the powerfully resilient natives whom are making legal, repatriztions,justice inquiries, new legislation for us.. We Are Idle No More, am not a missing indigenous woman anymore. Experienced homelessness, alcoholism , I’ve fortunately blessed by natives whom have welcomed Me into the circle. Am thankfully blessed too be loved.


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