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Analyzing the Historical Context of a 19th-Century Treaty Between the U.S. Government and a Native American Tribe


First-hand accounts of what happened in the past are the most important part of historical research because they tell us what really happened. American Indians and the American West, 1809–1971, a key work from the ProQuest History Vault, is what this essay is mostly about. The story is mostly about a deal the U.S. government made with a Native American group in 1865. When you study history, this treaty is a must-read. It shows how power and relationships worked back then.

Author/Creator Analysis

People from different Native American tribes and the U.S. government wrote the treaty. It shows how people with other goals and views can work together. Politicians and diplomats from the government were on one side. They had a lot of power over setting policy and negotiating territory.[1]. The fact that they worked on the document gives it some weight, but it also shows that they support federal goals like keeping control of resources and expanding the territory. They talk about their people’s rights and how to stay alive because they are in charge of their tribe. It’s hard for them to make a deal because they need to balance the need for safety and food with the need to give up land.

Document Analysis

The treaty tells us a lot and has a lot of meaning. The following sections briefly describe what took place in the past and what the parties wished to achieve:

  1. Land Cessions: The treaty makes it clear to the Native American tribe what land they need to give up to the U.S. government. There is a big change in who owns the land in this part. This means that the tribe will lose some of its freedom and the U.S. will take over more land. What these lands are called shows how important land is as a resource and a sign of power and control.
  2. Guarantees and Promises: Part of the treaty is what the U.S. government told the tribe it would do. Promises to keep people safe, give them what they need, and move things along quickly are some examples[2]. These parts of the contract describe how the government plans to talk to the tribe and supposedly offer guarantees in exchange for giving up land. People don’t know if these promises are real or if the government will keep them because they are so big and vague.
  3. Signatures and Witnesses: The paper has been signed by people on both sides, and witnesses were there to see it happen. This is a very important part because it makes the treaty official and binding on the law. It also shows the time in history when both sides understood and agreed with each other[3]. The case is made even more complicated by witnesses, who are sometimes neutral parties and sometimes other government officials. They show that more people understand and agree with the terms of the treaty.

The language of the treaty was looked at to show how hard it is to understand old records like these. For many years, they were very important. They let us see into the past.

Contextual Analysis

In the middle of the 1800s, the U.S. government tried to take over more land. The treaty talks about how the rules affected Native Americans. This shows how aboriginal people and the federal government are still at odds with each other. The fight is worse because both sides are weak and have different goals. The pact shows how the government feels about “manifest destiny” and moving west. Even though the treaty covers a lot, it doesn’t solve all of our problems. People in the tribe need to know how it will change them. What did the U.S. government say they would do? What would happen now that the tribe had to keep the deal and give up land? These unresolved problems show that more research is needed to fully understand the pact.


An agreement was made between the U.S. and a Native American tribe in 1865. Explore the past of these treaties here. Talks about land are hard, and the U.S. and Native American tribes have a bad history together. Native Americans were against American expansion after the policy changed in the 1800s. The treaty talks about changes. We’re looking at the past differently now that we know how hard and unpopular this episode was.


Bacon, Jacqueline. “Taking Liberty, Taking Literacy: Signifying in the Rhetoric of African‐American Abolitionists.” Southern Communication Journal 64, no. 4 (November 1999): 271–87.

Bowers, Jennifer, Katherine Crowe, and Peggy Keeran. “‘If You Want the History of a White Man, You Go to the Library’ : Critiquing Our Legacy, Addressing Our Library Collections Gaps.” Collection Management 42, no. 3-4 (October 2, 2017): 159–79.

Gause, Rich. “UCF Research Guides: Microfilm and Microfiche: 1940-1949.” Accessed January 28, 2024.

[1] Jacqueline Bacon, “Taking Liberty, Taking Literacy: Signifying in the Rhetoric of African‐American Abolitionists,” Southern Communication Journal 64, no. 4 (November 1999).

[2] Jennifer Bowers, Katherine Crowe, and Peggy Keeran, “‘If You Want the History of a White Man, You Go to the Library’ : Critiquing Our Legacy, Addressing Our Library Collections Gaps,” Collection Management 42, no. 3-4 (October 2, 2017): 159–79.

[3] Rich Gause, “UCF Research Guides: Microfilm and Microfiche: 1940-1949,”, accessed January 28, 2024.


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