Borderlands and Treaties


This primary source packet contains materials related to borders, borderlands, treaties, and Indigenous peoples. Materials can support classes and research on topics including Indigenous history, treaties between Indigenous nations and settler communities, how we define borders, and the construction of maps and boundaries. Pedagogical goals from using these materials might include analysis of visual and textual sources, analyzing maps, and considering the ways Indigenous peoples are and are not present in representations of the United States. 

These materials cover a wide range of time, from the 1680s to the 1960s, and include maps, manuscripts, and images. 

Packet contents:

  • List of primary sources
  • Guiding questions for engaging with the primary sources
  • Articles which provide background on this topic
    • David Minderhout and Andrea Frantz. “Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania.” Human Organization 67 no. 1 (Spring 2008), 61-67.  
    • Julian Aguon. “Our Stories Are Maps Larger Than Can Be Held” In Formations of United States Colonialism, ed. Alyosha Goldstein. Duke University Press, 2014. 264-288.

Primary Sources

Penn Treaty Elm trade cards. HC-MC 801-11-011.
[Digitized version]

Joseph Samson journal. 1791. HC-MC 1008, Morris family papers.
[Digitized version]

David Bacon journal. 1794. HC-MC 975-01-003.
[Digitized version]

A New and Accurate Map of the Province of New York and Part of the Jerseys, New England and Canada. London: J. Bew, 1780. 
[Digitized version]

Map of the South and East Bounds of Pennsylvania. London: John Thorton, 1681. 
[Digitized version from the Lower Merion Historical Society]

Map of the Province of Pensilvania. T. Kitchin, 1756.
[Digitized version]

Walter Taylor and the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Indian Committee. “The 1964 crisis for Seneca Indians.” MC 1168, Box 3, folder “Kinzua Project, 1964.” 
[Digitized version]

Theodore Hetzel. Letter to President Kennedy about the Pickering Treaty. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting report. MC 1168, Box 3, folder “Kinzua Project, 1961.”
[Digitized version]

Olean Times Herald clippings on Seneca relocation. MC 1168, Box 4, folder “Kinzua Project, 1965.”
[Digitized version]

“The Kinzua Dam Controversy: A Practical Solution Without Shame.” MC 1168, Box 5, folder “1960-1961.”
[Digitized version]

Guiding Questions

  • Who created these materials? For what purpose? 
  • Who is the implied audience for these materials? What informs your opinion?
  • How are indigenous people portrayed in the materials? From whose perspective? 
  • What arguments are the documents making?
  • What background information can you find about these materials?