Drawing on an archive that includes written documents, printed books, orations, landscape markings, wampum beads, tally sticks, and other technologies of political accounting, Glover examines the powerful influence of treaty making along the vibrant and multicultural Atlantic coast of the seventeenth century.
Historian Colin G. Calloway narrates the history of diplomacy between North American Indians and their imperial adversaries, particularly the United States. Many treaties involved not land, but trade, friendship, and the resolution of disputes. When the Mohawks welcomed Dutch traders in the early 1600s, they sealed a treaty of friendship with a wampum belt with parallel rows of purple beads, representing the parties traveling side-by-side, as equals, on the same river. But the American republic increasingly turned treaty-making into a tool of encroachment on Indian territory. His analysis demonstrates that native leaders were hardly dupes. The records of negotiations, he writes, show that "Indians frequently matched their colonizing counterparts in diplomatic savvy and tried, literally, to hold their ground.
On July 9, 2020, the United States Supreme Court held by a 5-4 vote that the borders of the 1866 Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation in Oklahoma remain intact. The decision landed like a bombshell. Overnight, the Creek Reservation was reaffirmed and recognized as covering three and a quarter million acres. The entire area is once again recognized as “Indian Country” as defined by federal law. One million Oklahomans discovered that they now live on an Indian reservation, including 400,000 people in the city of Tulsa. The United States, Oklahoma, and Oklahomans will now have to deal with numerous complex issues involving Creek Nation jurisdiction and sovereignty over an enormously larger expanse of land and population than was previously assumed. This case has very significant and crucially important implications that will involve the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, other tribes in Oklahoma, and tribes across the country in future negotiations, lawsuits, and perhaps legislative efforts to address the issues that will arise. McGirt is probably the most significant Indian law case in well over one hundred years, and it will have serious repercussions for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma, the United States, and other Native nations.
In this talk, Professor Robert J. Miller, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Professor and APS Member (Class of 2014), explained the McGirt decision and focused on its future ramifications for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, federal Indian law, the United States, Indian nations in Oklahoma, the state of Oklahoma, and Indian nations and peoples across the country.