1795 Treaty of Greenville | First Recognition as Sovereign Entity

1795

Signed August 3rd, 1795, the Treaty of Greenville followed negotiations after the Native American loss at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. This defeat ended the ten-year-long Northwest Indian War and established the Greenville Treaty Line, which for many years became a boundary between territory that was acknowledged as remaining under the sovereign authority of various Native American tribes and had been ceded by tribes to the United States government that were open to European-American settlers.

The Native American tribes involved in this treaty ceded a significant area of modern-day Ohio, the future site of downtown Chicago, the Fort Detroit region, and the Maumee and lower Sandusky area in exchange for goods valuing approximately $20,000 (such as blankets, utensils, and domestic animals).

Native American leaders who signed the Treaty included chiefs of several Potawatomi bands, including Potawatomi Chief White Pigeon and Potawatomi Chief The Sun. Also signing the Treaty were leaders of the following tribes: Wyandot (Chiefs Tarhe, Leatherlips, and Roundhead), Delaware (Lenape; several bands), Shawnee (Chief Blue Jacket), Ottawa (several bands), Chippewa, Miami (Chief Little Turtle; several bands), Wea, Kickapoo, and Kaskaskia.

The U.S. government recognized the governmental/sovereign status of the Huron Potawatomi in multiple treaties during the 18th & 19th Centuries; the first being the Treaty of Greenville (1795).

While the Treaty of Greenville was intended as a Peace Treaty that protected Indian lands from incursions by settlers, it precipitated a 45-year period during which the Potawatomi Bands in lower Michigan ceded (sold) their land to the U.S. Government (for as low as 1.2 cents per acre).  The last of these treaties was the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, which authorized the forced relocation of the Potawatomi to Kansas by the U.S. Army.

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References:

Christy, Howard Chandler. The Signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville. 1945, The Ohio Statehouse. The painting currently hangs in the east stairway of the Ohio Statehouse.

Kappler, Charles J. The Treaty of Greenville 1795. Clerk to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, 1795, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/greenvil.asp.

Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795 (Ratified Indian Treaty #23, 7 STAT 49), between the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomie, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Ka; 8/3/1795; Indian Treaties, 1722 – 1869; General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11; National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/treaty-greenville, February 28, 2018]

United States, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Acknowledgement and Research, et al. “Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc.” HPI-V001-D004, https://www.bia.gov/sites/bia.gov/files/assets/as-ia/ofa/petition/009_hurpot_MI/009_pf.pdf.

 

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