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Treatied space: North American indigenous treaties in a global context

Porter, Joy



Ann McGrath

Lynette Russell


All communities and individuals living on North American land are, in a geo-political sense, ‘treaty people’ and attention to treaty history is vital to the challenge of addressing the profound environmental, technological, and resource-use changes of the future. This chapter makes the case for re-examination of existing thinking on treaties as the fundamental diplomatic artefacts that have codified and articulated relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples over time. It argues that indigenous treaties need to take on a more appropriately central place in debates within law, history, literature, political science, and indigenous studies. Despite recent quantitative work by the Harvard political scientist Arthur Spirling, area and tribe-specific studies since the late 1970s, and significant work by Prucha, Deloria & DeMallie, and Wilkins, recent decades have seen that issues linked to representation and culture achieve much greater prominence than the messier intricacies of how treaties have come into being, their contested histories, and their direct political impact upon the present. This has partly been as a result of the conceptual and social changes of the 1960s that brought into sharp relief successive historical failures to uphold treatied relationships.


Porter, J. (2021). Treatied space: North American indigenous treaties in a global context. In A. McGrath, & L. Russell (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History (259-278). London: Taylor & Francis (Routledge).

Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2021
Publication Date Sep 30, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 23, 2021
Publicly Available Date Mar 31, 2023
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Pages 259-278
Series Title Routledge Companions
Edition 1st
Book Title The Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History
Chapter Number 11
ISBN 9781138743106
Keywords Inidgenous
Public URL
Publisher URL


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