| Treaty of 1868
The history of Native Americans in North America dates back thousands of years. Exploration and settlement of the western United States by Americans and Europeans wreaked havoc on the Indian peoples living there.
In the 19th century the United States' drive for expansion clashed violently with Native Americans' resolve to preserve their lands, sovereignty, and ways of life. The struggle over land has defined relations between the U.S. government and Native Americans, and is well documented in the holdings of the National Archives.
Until 1871 the U.S. government negotiated treaties with Indian tribes as it did with foreign powers. Many of the treaties extinguished Native Americans' title to land. Other agreements related to the pursuit and maintenance of peace, the status of tribes as dependent nations, and regulation of trade. Many of the treaties are still significant in the defense of Indian land claims, hunting and fishing rights, and tribal autonomy. U.S. treaties with Indian nations are held by the National Archives.