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An Act Providing for the Expences Which May Attend Negotiations or Treaties with the Indian Tribes, August 20, 1789

Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate relations with American Indian tribes. The First Federal Congress delegated responsibility for Indian Affairs to the Secretary of War and, on August 20, 1789, passed the Indian Treaties Act—the first of many appropriations to fund U.S.-American Indian treaty negotiations. For the next century the treaty-making process dictated relationships between American Indians and the U.S. government. These formal agreements between two sovereign nations were negotiated by the executive branch on behalf on the President and approved for ratification by the Senate.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

An Act Providing for the Expences Which May Attend Negotiations or Treaties with the Indian Tribes

Legislative Highlights

The U.S. Constitution states that “The Congress shall have Power…To make all Laws.” The original laws enacted by Congress are preserved at the National Archives. This page highlights some of the most historically significant laws Congress has passed throughout the nation’s history.