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Week Nine: First Treaties with Indian Tribes; Isaac Stevens

This week we turn to the first treaties that were made with Indian tribes in the Northwest region. Professor Fritz’s lecture (~35 minutes) looks at the influence that Isaac Stevens had in forging these treaties and in shaping the direction of Indian/settler relations.

The Maps page presents three maps showing Indian tribes and territories. DeSmet’s map accompanied treaty documents from the 1851 Fort Laramie gathering. Lambert’s map is a compilation of information from Stevens’ surveys and has good detail throughout Washington Territory. The 1857 Stevens map illustrates the land cessions, reserves and common hunting areas which were a result of the 1855 treaties in Washington and Nebraska Territories.

In Tribal Perspectives we've assembled video clips (14 minutes) that discuss the 1851 and 1855 treaties and describe their effect on various tribes. These testimonies illustrate powerfully how their former ways of life (their cultures) were linked to particular places and how the reservation system ignored that relationship.

Click on image to enlarge
"Arrival of the Nez Perce Indians at Walla Walla Treaty May 1855"
Gustavus Sohon watercolor. Washington State Historical Society.

For the People page this week we’ve included another list of individuals who were significant during this time period. You will also find an excerpt from the author and artist George Catlin that presents his view of U.S. Indian policy, and the text of Four Bears’ speech. Both of these pieces augment the testimonies presented in Tribal Perspectives.

This week on the Research page, we want to introduce you to the Treaty Trails website of the Washington State History Museum. Take some time to see how the early treaties affected the tribes who inhabited an area you or your students choose to study.


Lecture Maps People Research Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 4 Unit 5