What happens when you disagree with someone?  Do you throw a fist?  Do you yell and scream, hoping they will start agreeing with you?  Do you go and tell a teacher, hoping they will get in trouble?  Well, I hope you don't do any of these things.  The best thing is to talk out your problems and come to some sort of peace.  This is what the American colonists did when trying to share land with Native American nations.  It was better to come to some sort of understanding than to shed blood.  


By the time the U.S. was up on its feet and running as a country, the new Americans were pretty sick of war.  They had fought the British.  They had fought the Spanish.  They had fought the French.  They had fought the Native Americans.  It was time for a different approach when learning how to live with Native Americans.  They had nowhere else to go, unlike people from other countries.  Diplomacy is what you do to build good relations with people outside your society.  Most of the time it has to do with dealing with other countries.  In this case, it had to do with people who lived on the same soil. 


In order to end a fight in peace, you have to come to terms you both agree on.  In this case, the fight was over land and who was allowed to hunt and fish on it.  A treaty is an agreement made and signed between two groups of people.  This one was signed on November 11, 1794 in Canandaigua, New York.  It took its name from the city.  People met from both sides and the U. S. government agreed to give back some of the land in Western New York where the Native Americans would be allowed to live and hunt.  Once they figured out the borders, both sides were able to leave in peace.  


The treaty did many things.  It made peace between the people.  It let the six nations govern their people how they saw fit.  It promised money from the U.S. government every year.  It also allowed the nations to hunt and fish within the boundaries drawn in the treaty.  Most importantly, the U.S. would not be allowed to take this land back.  For something to be legal it means it follows the law.  Because these terms were part of the law, the United States was bound to follow them.  Both sides left feeling left feeling like they got most of what they wanted.  That's the sign of any good treaty. 


Many treaties are broken over time, but this one still stands today.  That means it's lasted for more than two-hundred years.  The Native American people have been able to grow roots in this land.  The Iroquois, a group of six nations, still live in the north and east part of the United States to this day.  Their land is in a triangle between two lakes and Niagara Falls.  They agreed to never cross these lines to hunt or fish on land in the United States.  In the end, we do not bother them and they do not bother us.  It might not be perfect, but it has lasted for two hundred years. 


In the past, the United States has broken many treaties, or finding ways to agree with others.  When it comes to Native American nations, we have spilled blood instead of using diplomacy, talking to find peace.  It's great that this treaty still stands today, and that both sides have followed the laws, staying legal.  This way the Iroquois have been able to find a home in the north and east part of the U.S., hunting and fishing as much as they would like on this land.  This arrangement is not perfect.  Parts of the treaty have been broken.  But still, it has lasted for two hundred years, which is more than we can say for most.  There is a lesson to be learned here.  It's clear that if treaties are made and followed, they can be great for both sides. 


References:

Onandaga Nation.  "The Canandaigua Treaty of 1794"  onandaganation.org, 2012.  <http://www.onondaganation.org/government/the-canandaigua-treaty-of-1794/>

Ganondagan.  "Canandaigua Treaty of 1794"  ganandagan.org, 2016.  <http://www.ganondagan.org/Learning/Canandaigua-Treaty>

Six Nations Lands Resources.  "26. The Right to Hunt and Fish"  sixnations.ca. 2008.  <http://sixnations.ca/LandsResources/cslc26.htm>


National Park Service. "The Six Nations Confederacy During the American Revolution" nps.gov, 2016.  http://www.nps.gov/fost/learn/historyculture/the-six-nations-confederacy-during-the-american-revolut...

 

Ratical.  "The Six Nations: Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth"  ratical.org, 2010. http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/


History for Kids. "Native American Rights" historyforkids.net, 2015.  http://www.historyforkids.net/native-american-rights.html