tv American Artifacts CSPAN November 27, 2014 4:01pm-4:27pm EST
i'm cheyenne and muskogee and founder of the american museum and guest curator, prodly so of the nation-to-nation exhibit and general editor for the book of the same title. i first proposed the nation-to-nation exhibit in 2003, and i was thinking just a few months ago, that we would just never get to the end of it. and today, i'm thinking it's only been 11 years. amazing. >> nation-to-nation exhibit and book is really a gift that we're returning to the united states. through knowledge of its citizenry about its enhistory. because that's what this tells. this isn't the indians' view. this isn't just as the treaties aren't the indians' treaties.
the treaties are between the united states and native nations. and the treaties and this exhibit reflect that. reality. about the treaties. all of the nations had land. no one brought any land with them when they came across the atlantic ocean. no one brought any european land. there was no american land. there was only native land. and that land belonged to the native nations and to the peoples who were the citizens of the native nations. the european nations entered into treaties with the native nations who have been making treaties amongst each other for mellenia. this was a continuation of that for the native peoples, and it
was a continuation of treaties that the europeans had, although in europe, mostly the treaties meant an end to the war. here, even though there were in most instances no wars, it meant peace and friendship that you would be allies going forward. you would have this friendship as a continuum. and the treaties really represent that relationship. they're the evidence of that relationship. they're a marker in time. but the relationship and the treaties still exist today as legally enforceable and binding documents. agreements. that both the united states and the native nations honor. but more importantly, it was the relationship that everyone was
honoring, and it means peace, friendship forever. the parallel lines go on forever. and the parallel lines represent the nonnative person and the native person. the two sets of nations that must exist in a parallel way and exist through time and through history as distinctive. i don't mean separate but distinctive, one from the other. and we maintain that distinctiveness even today. the first act of congress having to do with native peoples was the first of the trade and intercourse act in 1790. in july of 1790, and what that said, and what it says today because it is as amended still on the books, it means that no
transaction for land or property by a state or by a person is any good. is legal without the specific involvement or consent of the federal government. so the treaties could only be made with the federal government. any land transaction was void ab initio. no good from the get-go according to this law and according to what the native people wanted. and this is something that george washington explained personally to the seneca nation delegates by saying this means you will never be defrauded of your land again.
now, would that have been true, it was true at the time he meant it, at the time president george washington, in making the treaties of 1790 with the muskogee nations of the southeast and the treaty of canandaigua which was the with shownee, the confederacy, and that was new york at the time, so what george washington wanted as president of the united states was some territory for the united states to govern over and wanted a definition of the state boundaries and a clarity of the muskogee nation and the huedensaunee lands. what the president was trying to do was stop any possible
encroachment by european nations. stop any overreach and harm to native people with the states. and to enter into secured peace and friendship forever arrangements. with the muskogee and the huedensaunee peoples. they was trying to secure the western and southern borders of the united states. these were buffalo, savannah. we're talking really eastern western borders at that time. and that was the united states. so the muskogee nations and the huedenshaunee they wanted it as a matter of necessity as well as
inclination. they wanted somebody to be in charge of stopping the aggressiveness and the lawlessness of the people who were flooding into their lands from europe. and these were europeans and new americans, settlers of all kinds, who were encroaching on the native lands. so they wanted that to stop. and they wanted the agreement strictly with the united states. hence, nation to anyways. that's the way the law developed at that time in the 1790s. and that's the way the law is today. it's still nation to nation. our ancestors really knew these presidents. really knew washington and lincoln and other notable and in many cases, rightly so beloved people.
the muskogee delegates when they arrived by canoe and over land, but mostly by canoe from savannah, they docked at the bottom of manhattan and were greeted with 300 white men dressed like indians. who were members of the tammany society which has been named for chief tammenen, the chief who first made the treaty with william penn for the british colony known as the william penn colony, for parts of philadelphia. so the tammen society, or the tammany society, people were dressed as they thought indians were. and mostly lenape, and they were cheering the arrival of the
muskogee delegates and when they carried them they escorted them as afraid to congress. later on, the muskogee nation delegates were dining with george washington at his home. and the artist john trumble was there. and john trumble had had just completed the iconic portrait of washington, the life size portrait of him, in his military outfit. and washington wanted a visual joke to be played on the muskogee delegates. and he had trumble put the painting on one side of the door that washington then opened so the delegates could see him. and then see him in his outfit in the painting. and they loved it. and everyone had a good laugh. and they felt it and didn't like the way it felt. so john trumble asked if he could paint them.
and they said no. but he did draw them surreptitiously over that evening and throughout the week that they were there. and those drawings are in this exhibit. they're just beautiful drawings. and unlike anything that trumble really did, that's because he was doing it in secret. and i'm so glad he did that, even though the delegates didn't want that to be done. because it's the closest thing we have to a photograph of who the native negotiators were. and i love the story because no one ever thinks of washington as being a jokester. or having a sense of humor. or they had think of him as being very stiff. and this is a nice way to think about how he was trying to communicate and he was
improvising with what he had at hand. i just think it's an interesting story about the casualness of the relationship at the same time that it was a formal relationship nation to nation. it was a casual personal relationship about developing friendship. about keeping the peace. about this lasting forever. that we're in it for the long haul. our nations are in it for the long haul, far beyond our time. and that's what they were doing at canandaigua which is a place, a town, in new york. that's what they were doing there when the six nations people and all of the clan mothers and all of the chiefs and the people were the representatives were there at the treaty camp with the representatives of the united
states. and they were all negotiating this past their own time. and we do have these beautiful portraits of cornplanter. chief cornplanter, chief red jacket, handsome lake. others who were signatories to the 1794 treaty at canandaigua. we know what they looked like, so we show their images. we show the images of the nonnative negotiators. now, that treaty was sent to philadelphia, when it became the capital of the united states. and the big news out of the -- in the american newspapers in 1795, i know, because i have one of them, and i've looked at a lot of facsimiles of others.
is that president washington signed the treaty at canandaigua. and the newspapers carried the entire text of the entire treatpy. that's how important it was in 1795, that senate had ratified and that he had signed the 1794 canandaigua treaty that had been negotiated in upstate new york. both treaties were developed in various ways. the 1790 treaty was more of a direct negotiation between the president and the muskogee delegates. one of the places that they have come from was hickory pound which was the capital of the muskogee fed rassi.
the muskogee delegates liked what happened in new york and they wanted to commemorate the treaty. and they had a ceremony in new york renaming one of the daughter tines, meicca and that's my tribal town. people think it's a muskogee word but it's not. it's the sound that people heard when they had heard people say i'm a new yorker and people said "new yorker" and that's what they heard. and that's the name that they gave our tribal down. part of the evidence of the ongoing relationship between the united states and the hueden
huedenshaunee. is found november 11th, where the united states delivers treaty cloth and salt to the united states nations. who signed that treaty of can canandaig canandaigua, so every time, november 11th, that's what it's come down to a little bit of cloth and a little bit of salt? well, actually, it's a lot of cloth and a lot of salt. but that's not the point either. the point is those are the symbols of the validity of the treaty. a brightening of tcovenant chai
was used at the time. the covenant because it is a relationship and an ongoing treaty, that the covenant chain may tarnish. and it may need to be brightened up from time to time, so you need to polish the covenant chain. you need to renew your friendship. you need to meet face-to-face. you need to have discussions face-to-face. and all of that is part of maintaining the relationship is renewing your friendship. and that's what happens on treaty anniversaries. the united states does something native nations does something. people observe and mark that time. and they try to do it with some symbolic interaction.
when people come to the exhibit and at the look at the images in the book, i hope they understand that we didn't just select pretty things. what we selected were things that stand for signatories to the treaties on both sides. on the native side and on the nonnative side. the pipe bags and pipes that are in the treaty's exhibit are beautiful things. but i selected those beautiful things from -- mostly from the national museum of the american-indian collection. and they were present in 1851 at the time of the treaty making.
so these were pipe bags and pipes that actually were part of that treaty for the great plains as part of the great plains nation. nations. that the treaties -- that the nations made amongst themselves and with the united states, among themselves for boundaries and then provided safe passage for the united states to go across their territories in wagons just the width of a conestoga wagon. now, who know that would mean the railroad down the line. that that was the width of the conestoga wagon. it must have sounded like a modest amount of space. just a tiny trail across this vast land, that you couldn't see
an end to it. what it turned into was something else, and that story we don't flinch from either in bad acts. bad paper. like what disrupted the treaty spirit. that's what happened. betrayals and things that later dishonorable presidents like andrew jackson who agreed with states writers and force-marched native peoples out of their own homes. lynched them from their own homes and sent them to indian territory. so we explore that as well. but everything in here has been selected. the pipe bags and pipes are selected because they represent the native nations who were present in 1851 at the
ft. laramie treaty which is called "the great smoke." and why? because there were so many people making sage offerings or offerings of other kinds of medicine or smoking pipe, which meant they were praying, for the good day. and for the well-being of all of the people. so the great smoke treaty of 1851 had many native nations as parties to it along with the united states. and these pipes and pipe bags represent each of those nations. and when you look at them and say they were there, they were witnesses. they're the evidence of what happened in 1851. and how wonderful what we can show that in all their beauty, but in all their authority. and in all their presence. and in all they bring to us in a
spiritual way. in a cosmic way. and in an historical way from so long in the past. and you look at that and say, well, it's not so long. they're still holding up. they still look beautiful. one thing that i would like for native people who come here to have this gift of information and to know the range of treaties that exist, to the nonnative people, i hope the nonnative people are able to go away from this saying, oh, i didn't know these were my treaties, too. they're not just the indians' treaties. these are my treaties. because i'm a citizen of the united states.
that is a huge lesson. this is american history. and i think people don't really understand that, a lot of people don't understand that, coming into this exhibit. and this is that lesson. that this is american history. and this is a part of american history that, if you don't know it, then you really don't know american history. if you don't know about treaties, you don't know how the united states acquired the territory so far which to govern. you don't know how how the unit states -- how the states are shaped the way they are. how the united states is shaped the way it is. you don't know any of these things without understanding the history of treaties. and you don't understand a lot of the place names.
a lot of the names of states that we have. dakota is named of a native nation. oklahoma is red person. blood person. relative person. in one of the muskogee languages. so, there are lots and lots of things to know about the united states that, if you don't know what's called indian history or indian treaties, you don't know american history. you can watch this and other american artifacts programs anytime by visiting our website. at c-span.org/history. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend. on c-span3. we're also featured on holidays and during congressional
recesses. friday our focus is the 1864 presidential election between republican abraham lincoln and democrat george mckellum. that the all day and throughout friday even on american history tv. here on c-span3. each week they bring you archival films. "mirror of america offers a glimpse of the united states. auto make-e henry ford created the ford film department in 1914 to document current events, culture and to produce ed casual and industrial films. in 1963, the ford automaker donated over 5,000 films to the national archives as a gift to the american people the national archives produced this documentary the same year to
show highlights of the ford collection. in so many ways, henry ford was a simple man. he liked to go camping with his friends. that's thomas edison behind him. he enjoyed old-time country dancing. here he is with the naturalist. skating with his grandchildren. they'd plant a garden together. henry ford ii and benson. his first car, he called it a quadracycle. that's his wife clara. he began with an idea that most people thought wouldn't work. but he made it work. and the tools he used were common sense ingenuity and perseverance. along w