New exhibit examines tribal treaties in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The organizers behind a new exhibit on tribal treaties in Minnesota are hoping to spark new discussions about treaty rights.

The exhibit is called “Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations.” It’s already been shown on the White Earth Reservation. It’s on display this month at the Becker County Museum in Detroit Lakes, and travels to more than a dozen other locations statewide in the next 15 months.

Organizers tell Minnesota Public Radio tribal leaders signed the treaties under great duress, but the treaties are living documents that have protected the rights of the Dakota and Ojibwe peoples to exist as sovereign nations.

The exhibit is a collaboration among Dakota and Ojibwe tribal elders, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian Institution.