History Revealed: Relentless Business of Treaties
November 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Ramsey County Historical Society Presents
Martin Case, The Relentless Business of Treaties
Thursday, November 7, 2019
East Side Freedom Library
Free and open to all. No registration needed.
Join RCHS for History Revealed, our program series featuring presentations and tours from the best of local historians, authors and archaeologists, with a wide range of topics drawn from the heritage and traditions of Ramsey County.
The story of “western expansion” is a familiar one: US government agents, through duplicity and force, persuaded Native Americans to sign treaties that gave away their rights to the land. But this framing, argues Martin Case, hides a deeper story. Land cession treaties were essentially the act of supplanting indigenous kinship relationships to the land with a property relationship. And property is the organizing principle upon which US society is based.
US signers represented the relentless interests that drove treaty making: corporate and individual profit, political ambition, and assimilationist assumptions of cultural superiority. The lives of these men illustrate the assumptions inherent in the property system—and the dynamics by which it spread across the continent. In this book, for the first time, Case provides a comprehensive study of the treaty signers, exposing their business ties and multigenerational interrelationships through birth and marriage. Taking Minnesota as a case study, he describes the groups that shaped US treaty making to further their own interests: interpreters, traders, land speculators, bureaucrats, officeholders, missionaries, and mining, timber, and transportation companies.
Martin Case, freelance researcher and writer, was a key participant in the development of Why Treaties Matter, a collaboration of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian Institute, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
2019 History Revealed Programs
For 2019 History Revealed programs, see https://www.rchs.com/news/history-revealed-2019/
New programs are being added.