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Group of Ojibwe leaders, Washington, DC.

Throughout all of this, Native leaders never gave up on defending their culture. By the late 19th century, delegations of Dakota and Ojibwe representatives were making the long journey to Washington D.C. to lobby the US government for the maintenance of their treaty rights.

This 1890 image of a group of Dakota leaders en route to a meeting with government officials at the Capitol shows the men dressed in symbols of their status: formal Western suits worn with hairpipe breastplates, peace medals, eagle feathers, quilled vests and beaded war honors shirts, and the catlinite pipes that, when smoked between the two parties, declared their commitment to keeping treaties and truces alive.

In similar fashion, the Anishinaabe bands in Minnesota also sent delegations of leaders to Washington D.C., to reaffirm bonds and truces between the two nations. This group of Red Lake, Leech Lake, and White Earth Ojibwe leaders was taken at the Capitol in 1890. Like the Dakota in the previous photograph, the men consciously chose conspicuous emblems of both their standing and their culture to show the Americans. Catlinite pipes, shell gorgets, bandolier bags, peace medals, and eagle feathers are worn with pride over elegantly tailored Western suits.