Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

White Earth to host grand opening of traveling treaties exhibition on Aug. 3


As the leaders of nations, tribal chiefs often travelled to Washington, D.C., to negotiate treaties with U.S. officials. President Andrew Johnson and Native delegates, including Ojibwe Chief Bagone-giizhig, or Hole-in-the-Day, are pictured above outside the White House in 1867. Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian (P10142)

(OGEMA, Minn., July 27) – The grand opening of the new traveling exhibition, “Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations” will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 3 on the White Earth Reservation. The exhibition will be on view at White Earth Tribal Headquarters (35500 Eagle View Road, Ogema) Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Wednesday, Aug. 31.

An opening reception – open to the public – will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 5. Light refreshments will be served and a special program will feature Ojibwe storytelling. Additional public programs, to be announced, are planned during the time the exhibition is at White Earth.

“The White Earth Nation is grateful to the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, Minnesota Humanities Center, and Smithsonian Institution for producing this exhibit and documentary on treaties,” said White Earth Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor. “This exhibition will be invaluable with regard to treaty education for Minnesotans who know very little about treaties between Indian nations and the United States government. Treaties are the supreme law of our country. Treaties need to be respected and honored.”

“Why Treaties Matter” explores the Native nations in Minnesota and their history of treaty making with the United States. The exhibition is comprised of 20 free standing banners with evocative text, historical and contemporary photographs and maps, and a 10-minute video titled, “A Day in the Life of the Minnesota Tribal Nations.”

The exhibition reveals how Dakota and Ojibwe treaties with the U.S. government affected the lands and lifeways of the Indigenous peoples of the place we now call Minnesota, and explains why these binding agreements between nations still matter today. It is meant to share important cultural information with all Minnesotans, that they may better understand the true circumstances surrounding Minnesota land, its use, and even the treatment of the land’s Indigenous peoples today.

Following its close at the White Earth Tribal Headquarters, the exhibition will begin a statewide tour through 2012 to reservations and other venues under the auspices of the Minnesota Humanities Center and its partner, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. For more information and travel itinerary updates visit

President Barack Obama meets with tribal leaders, including Fond du Lac tribal Chairwoman Karen Diver (seated to his left), in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, December 15, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza, courtesy of the White House


In August 2010, a resolution creating a unique partnership of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. was approved unanimously by the tribes residing in Minnesota and made it possible for the exhibition to be developed as an educational tool for Minnesota audiences.

“Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations” is a collaboration of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. The project is funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with a vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, and The Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation.


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