Smithsonian Voices

From the Smithsonian Museums

Mark Hirsch

Mark Hirsch is a historian at the National Museum of the American Indian. His research interests include 19th- and 20th-century social and cultural history, U.S. Indian policy, Native–European contact, and the making of the modern world.

Gustav Sohon (1825–1903), Arrival of the Nez Perce at the Walla Walla Treaty Council, May 18, 1855. (Washington State Historical Society)

The Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854

Puget Sound Indians’ fundamental belief in the Medicine Creek Treaty helped inspire the great fish-ins on the salmon rivers of Western Washington in the 1960s and ’70s. Those acts of resistance fixed national attention on Indian treaty rights and laid the groundwork for the emergence of the modern tribal sovereignty movement that continues to define life in Indian Country today.