Exhibition Focusing on Native Nations in Minnesota and the History of Treaty Making at SCC through September 10

(August 27, 2015) - “Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations” is a new traveling exhibition that explores the Native nations in Minnesota and their history of treaty making with the United States. The exhibit will be on display in Heritage Hall on the North Mankato campus of South Central College located at 1920 Lee Boulevard until September 10.  The exhibit is open to the public each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am - 5 p.m. and Tuesday from Noon - 6 p.m.              

This exhibition is part of a statewide tour with visits to campuses throughout the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system under the auspices of the Minnesota Humanities Center and its partner, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. 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. 

Dr. Amy Magnus, a MnSCU-accredited American Indian Studies instructor at South Central College, believes the exhibit provides a valuable learning experience. “Tribes have had to vigorously defend treaty rights against arguments that treaties are archaic documents with no contemporary purpose,” said Magnus. "These treaties are still in effect within Minnesota’s boarders and an ongoing part of Minnesota’s future. Understanding our shared past is key to moving forward into this future.”

Naomi Anywaush, who is Dakota and a member of the Upper Sioux Community, took Magnus’ Native American Perspectives class two semesters ago. “Treaties are still a reality for my family and other tribes today. Through the class and my own life experiences, I have learned the treaties and cultures of many different Native American tribes and the affects they have on them still today.” Anywaush, who was also the 2011-12 Upper Sioux Princess, has relatives who are featured in a video that is part of the exhibit titled, “A Day in the Life of the Minnesota Tribal Nations.” 

This exhibit 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.

"Treaties are agreements between self-governing, or sovereign, nations," says Kevin Leecy, chairman of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe and chairman of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. “Native Nations existed long before the formation of the United States. European powers recognized the sovereign status of Native Nations when they made treaties with us, as did the United States. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution recognizes Indian Tribes as distinct sovereign entities on par with foreign nations."

“In order to create the vibrant Minnesota of the future we need to understand the importance of the agreements - the treaties - between the sovereign Indian nations and the United States,” says Minnesota Humanities Center President David O’Fallon. “Understanding these treaties is important now - it affects how we live - and will shape the future.”

For more information on the exhibit at South Central College visit southcentral.edu/treaties and for the overall exhibit itinerary visit www.mnhum.org/treaties.

South Central College Contact:  Shelly Megaw, 507-381-0404, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Minnesota Humanities Center Contact: Elizabeth Fei, 651-772-4244, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Minnesota Indian Affairs Council Contact: Annamarie Hill, 651-296-0041, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


About the Minnesota Humanities Center

Founded in 1971, the Minnesota Humanities Center is a nonprofit organization. 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 was established in 1963 MN Statutes Chapter 888, Sec. 2 (3:922). The Council is a liaison between the State of Minnesota and the 11 tribal governments in the state. The Council provides a forum for and advises state government on issues of concern to urban Indian communities. The Council administers three programs designed to enhance economic opportunities and protect cultural resources for the state's American Indian constituencies.

About the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian

Established in 1989, through an Act of Congress, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The museum includes the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall; the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent museum in lower Manhattan; and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, Md.

About South Central College

South Central College (SCC) is a comprehensive community and technical college that is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, with campuses in Faribault and North Mankato. The college’s Liberal Arts and Sciences programs offer an Associate of Arts degree and new Associate in Fine Arts degree, which provide students with an opportunity to take their first two years of college at SCC before transferring to Minnesota State University, Mankato to complete their Bachelor’s degree. SCC also offers 40 technical programs, with these students benefiting from expert technical instruction, along with liberal arts and sciences courses in areas pertinent to their particular career area. SCC is an Affirmative Action Equal Opportunity Employer/Educator.