Treaty of Cession

Treaty of Cession and the Tlingit Response

In 1867, the United States purchased Alaska from Russia under the Treaty of Cession. 

ARTICLE III OUTLINED THE STATUS OF ALASKA NATIVES:

… The uncivilized tribes will be subject to such laws and regulations as the United States may, from time to time, adopt in regard to aboriginal tribes of that country.

TLINGIT RESPONSE

The Tlingit maintained that they had owned Alaska since time immemorial. They said that if the United States wanted to buy Alaska, it should buy it from the rightful owners.

A council of Tlingit clan leaders met to decide whether they should wage war against the United States. After discussing the pros and cons, they decided to wait to see what would happen. 

After seeing the expropriation of their land and resources, they hired a lawyer in 1890 to convey to the United States that they owned the land.