From 1777 to 1871, United States relations with individual American Indian nations were conducted through treaty negotiations.
These contracts among nations created unique sets of rights for the benefit of each of the treaty-making tribes and the U.S. government. Those rights, like any other treaty obligations of the United States, represent, according to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land. As such, the protection of treaty rights is a critical part of the federal American Indian trust relationship.
Treaties exchanged tribal land for certain protections and benefits. Those treaty rights often include, among other things, hunting and fishing rights for tribal members that may extend beyond reservation boundaries, education of tribal children, protection from the state by the federal government, and first priority to water rights.
4th of June, 2012