(STILLWATER, Oklahoma, Nov. 15, 2021) — The Oklahoma State University Library is partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to create the “Tribal Treaties Database.” The project will be officially announced Tuesday at the White House Tribal Nations Summit.


The new “Tribal Treaties Database” is a free public resource available at treaties.okstate.edu. The first phase of the project focuses on U.S. government treaties with Native Americans from 1778-1883. The treaties are indexed and can be browsed by tribe, treaty or location. 


President Joe Biden has relaunched the White House Council on Native American Affairs and announced the new interagency “Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships.” This memorandum underscores the need for federal employees to have an easily accessible and usable compilation of tribal treaties.


The USDA and DOI approached the OSU Library to expand and enhance the library’s existing collection “Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties,” a digitization of the landmark work of Charles Kappler. This digital collection has been of great interest to citizens of Native American sovereign nations, researchers, journalists, attorneys, legislators, teachers and the general public. 


“The OSU Library is honored to have been one of the first organizations to digitize and to make freely available the ‘Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties,’” Dean of OSU Libraries Sheila Johnson said. “We appreciate the USDA’s interest in working with our library to make this content even more accessible.”


The USDA and DOI provided funding for the project. The OSU Library provided personnel, expertise and equipment. The team at the OSU Library developed a web portal for the project, contracted the creation of an enhanced index so users could better navigate the content, and are working with a team of experts to improve discoverability of the work based on feedback from the USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations. 


Plans are in development to grow the “Tribal Treaties Database” to include expanded subject matter indexing — particularly with indexing of importance to specific agencies. 


For more information about digital resources at the OSU Library, contact Digital Library Services at 405-744-9161 or email at lib-dls@okstate.edu.