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2015 Leadership in History Award Given to Minnesota Humanities Center and Minnesota Indian Affairs Council


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July 9, 2015-ST. PAUL, Minn.- The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) recently announced that the Minnesota Humanities Center and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council were honored with the prestigious 2015 Leadership in History Award for the traveling exhibit Why Treaties Matter: Self Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations. This award recognizes the achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. This year AASLH presented sixty national awards honoring people, exhibits, books, and organizations.

"This national recognition for the traveling exhibit Why Treaties Matter is an incredible honor," said Casey DeMarais, Director of Programs for the Minnesota Humanities Center. "From its inception, the knowledge, insight, and perspective of tribal members have been the foundation upon which this exhibit was developed. From this foundation of community involvement has emerged a vehicle for authentic Dakota and Ojibwe voices upon which these communities tell their own stories of sovereignty, adaptability, and sustainability."

The Why Treaties Matter exhibition was created in 2010 in partnership with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian as an educational tool for Minnesotans. This traveling exhibit explores relationships between Dakota and Ojibwe Indian Nations and the U.S. government in this place we now call Minnesota. Why Treaties Matter traveling exhibit includes a video presentation and 20 banners featuring text and images, how treaties affected the lands and lifeways of the indigenous peoples of this place, and why these binding agreements between nations still matter today.

"The Leadership in History Awards is AASLH's highest distinction and the winners represent the best in the field," said Trina Nelson Thomas, AASLH Awards Chair and Director, Stark Art & History Venue, Stark Foundation. "This year, we are pleased to distinguish each recipient's commitment and innovation to the interpretation of history, as well as their leadership for the future of state and local history."

The Leadership in History Awards Program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout America. Each nomination is peer-reviewed by AASLH's state captains. Final awards are decided by the Awards Committee, comprised of AASLH's fourteen regional representatives and the National Awards Chair.

Why Treaties Matter traveling exhibit is currently on display at the Northern Lights Casino in Walker, MN through August 28 and at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester through July 15, 2015. For more information about Why Treaties Matter and upcoming tour dates visit

About the American Association for State and Local History:

AASLH has provided leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all Americans since 1940. AASLH is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH works to advance knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of local history in America. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, a monthly newsletter, and maintains numerous affinity groups and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting. For more information about this award and the AASLH visit:

About the Minnesota Humanities Center:

Founded in 1971, the Minnesota Humanities Center is a nonprofit organization collaborating with organizations and individuals to develop programs that facilitate and frame community conversations, deep connections, and bring into public life the authentic voices of all people, especially those that have often been left out or marginalized. The Humanities Center is a resource of the state of Minnesota and affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Minnesota Humanities Center works to build a thoughtful, literate, and engaged society through education, partnership, and public programs.

About the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council:

The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) was established in 1963. MIAC is a liaison between the State of Minnesota and the 11 tribal Governments within the state. The mission of the Indian Affairs Council is to protect the sovereignty of the 11 Minnesota Tribes and ensure the well-being of American Indian citizens throughout the State of Minnesota. Its vision is to strive for the social, economic and political justice for all American Indian people living in the State of Minnesota, while embracing our traditional cultural and spiritual values.


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