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JT Shining One Side on Treaties

North Dakota Native American essential understanding number five is about tribal policies, treaties, and sovereignty. It states, "Native people practice self-determination, developing tribal policies and practicing political activism. Despite a history of US policies and treaties that have often been detrimental, Native people are members of sovereign nations that predate the US government.”

In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll listen to JT Shining One Side, enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa Nation, discuss treaties and the Department of the Interior.

JT Shining One Side:

We have treaties today because of the lands that we once had, and I know for the Anishinaabe, we moved. We moved from up around Maine area all the way down towards the Eastern Sea Board. We moved, and as they said, when we left there, we numbered in the stars as we were moving. And then we came to these different stopping areas that we stopped at, and different bands and groups of Anishinaabe would go to these different places.

And then eventually, as the United States government started formulating itself, they created the Department of the Interior, that was created as a war department. And who was the war department against? They were against American Indian people that were here. They would sit and they would smoke the pipe with the native people. They would sign documents, talk about things, do the treaties and everything, and on their way back to Washington with their documents, well, then, this is when the encroachment started to happen. Things would start happening on both sides.

It's important to remember the treaties, though, because those are a part of the things that make us who we are today and help us to know what our rights are as First Nations people, as American Indian people, so that we can continue to have a place for our people.

If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit

Dakota Datebook: Teachings of Our Elders is produced with support from and in collaboration with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

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