Host Why Treaties Matter in Your Community! Accepting Proposals Now

Host Why Treaties Matter in Your Community! Accepting Proposals Now


The Minnesota Humanities Center, in partnership with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, is currently accepting applications to host the “Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations” traveling exhibition and community engagement program during its 2018-2019 tour of Minnesota.

“Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations” is a nationally recognized, award-winning, traveling exhibit made in partnership with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.


In August 2010, a resolution creating a unique partnership of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. was approved by the tribes residing in Minnesota and made it possible for this exhibition to be developed as an educational tool for Minnesota audiences.

This partnership led to the creation of an exhibit unique in its community-based approach. From its inception, the knowledge, insight, and perspective of tribal members have been the foundation upon which this exhibit was developed. From this foundation of community involvement has emerged a vehicle for authentic Dakota and Ojibwe voices upon which these communities tell their own stories of sovereignty, adaptability and sustainability.


Minnesota Humanities Center and our partner, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council seeks host communities for a “Why Treaties Matter” traveling exhibition and community engagement program that will meet the following goals:

  • Communicate, in a meaningful and truthful way, the history of the sovereignty of and treaties between nations in Minnesota territory (and, later, the state of Minnesota) to educators, students, and the general public.
  • Build relationships that will endure beyond the active exhibition period.
  • Center indigenous knowledges and expertise in the hosting of the exhibition and community engagement activities.
  • Improve the amount and quality of teacher instruction about American Indian histories and cultures in the project’s partner school districts.

Up to six host communities will be invited to participate in this traveling exhibition and community engagement program to add to and learn from the statewide network. Minnesota Humanities Center and Minnesota Indian Affairs Council will work to recruit communities around Minnesota to participate in the Project as local host sites and programming partners. An independent Native-led review panel may consider geographic distribution as a component of their 2018-2019 host site recommendations.

Host communities will be asked to take a collaborative approach in which at least two community groups or organizations take an active role in hosting the traveling exhibition and community engagement activities offered by Minnesota Humanities Center and Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, as well as developing programming components that have local relevance and resonance. Taking a local approach to programming will allow challenging content and questions to emerge within established communities of support that can sustain conversations and relationships long past the term of the project. Minnesota Humanities Center and Minnesota Indian Affairs Council will offer a model of collaborative partnership and program development that will allow local host site partners to feel supported and connected. As part of this relationship-based approach, local partners will gather early in the project for a host site training retreat and participate in regular conference calls to discuss ideas and strategies.

Key elements of “Why Treaties Matter” in your community project:

  • Traveling exhibition – The exhibit explores relationships between Dakota and Ojibwe Indian Nations and the U.S. government in this place we now call Minnesota. Learn, through video presentations and 20 banners featuring text and images, how treaties affected the lands and lifeways of the indigenous peoples of this place, and why these binding agreements between nations still matter today.
  • Community engagement – Local sites will develop public events and other community engagement activities that center indigenous knowledge and experience of treaties.
  • Educator guides – Educator guides accompany the “Why Treaties Matter” exhibit content. These guides provide educators with background, student readings and activities, vocabulary lists, and suggested web and print resources. In the online environment, these guides also include an audio feature which allows users to hear pronunciations of Dakota and Ojibwe vocabulary. When printed, these guides serve as the basis for student worksheets and activities.

Host Communities Will:

  • Secure appropriate venue for six-week exhibition schedule;
  • Identify project director and assistant project director to coordinate the project and attend all required meetings, direct installation of the exhibition and provide leadership for engagement of community partners;
  • Engage and build enduring relationships with multiple communities, stakeholders, and organizations in the Host Community;
  • Plan and implement at least three public programs or events in conjunction with the exhibit;
  • Provide in-kind support for the exhibition and related public programs;
  • Track staff and volunteer time, facilities, and other resources donated to the project;
  • Support project evaluation and report on local outcomes;
  • Share knowledge, ideas, and best practices with other Host Communities across the state through regular meetings and a State Planning Meeting.

Minnesota Humanities Center Will:

  • Host an orientation retreat in Saint Paul for all host organizations and several of their partners;
  • Support relationship building by host sites with new groups in their communities;
  • Host monthly virtual meetings with host organizations to learn, share, and develop project ideas;
  • Work with local host site partners to amplify the project content, activities, and themes through their networks, statewide presence, and media;
  • Transport the exhibit to Host Community location.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants must be one of the following:

  • A Minnesota non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations registered with the Minnesota State Attorney General; or
  • A public agency such as a unit of local, state, or tribal government (some schools and libraries may be public agencies).

Eligible applicants must also meet all of the following conditions as of the application deadline:

  • Be located and operating within the state of Minnesota; and
  • Demonstrate a minimum of three years of education and/or community programming for public audiences.

Other requirements are listed below. Each must be demonstrated clearly in application materials.

  • Successful applications must have support from community partners who will contribute to programming.
  • All applications must include measurable outcomes and a plan for measuring and evaluating the results.
  • Applicants must be in compliance with any active or previous contract with the Humanities Center.
  • All reporting for current or previous funding from the Humanities Center must be up-to-date.

Who is not eligible to apply?

  • A for-profit organization or group that uses a business structure that must report and pay taxes on taxable income.
  • A nonprofit organization incorporated under any designation other than 501(c)(3).
  • An individual.

Review Criteria

Each application will be evaluated on its thoroughness and reviewed based on the criteria below:

Quality of the proposed project

  • Evidence of educational and/or cultural value of the proposed project.
  • Evidence of the program’s link to applicant organization’s mission.
  • Clear vision and goals for the program.
  • Clear statement of desired results and benefits to the communities served by the proposal.

Commitment to and from a community or communities

  • Evidence that the proposed exhibition is built on an understanding of the diverse interests and needs in a community, region, and the state.
  • Project demonstrates a high level of community input and participation.

Program exhibition administration

  • Evidence that the applicant has qualified program staff who demonstrate the capacity to complete the proposed exhibition.
  • Evidence the applicant has financial and staff capacity to responsibly manage the project.

Collaborations and partnerships

  • Imaginative and effective use of collaborations and partnerships with other organizations to leverage resources, increase range and depth, and reach more people and areas.

Application Process

The application is a two-step process through the Humanities Center’s online system, Foundant. In order to apply, each organization must register with Foundant and submit information regarding your organization’s eligibility by June 22. Minnesota Humanities Center staff will review applicants for eligibility in the order in which they are received. Once an applicant has been deemed ineligible, its application will be removed from consideration. The Humanities Center will do its best to notify ineligible applicants of their status as early as possible so they can stop work on their proposals. Applicants who are not notified of an ineligible status before the proposal due date should assume that their application is eligible.

Please note: Applicants may not proceed with their full application until they have submitted their eligibility information and been deemed eligible by Humanities Center staff. It is in applicants’ best interest to submit eligibility information as soon as possible.

Register with Foundant and follow the “Create New Account” steps. Step-by-step instructions to register for Foundant and a preview of the LOI questions can be found here.

If you have problems registering, contact Laura Benson at 651-772-4244, or


Registration and eligibility information submitted: June 22, 2018

Proposal due: June 29, 2018

Host communities announced: Aug. 3, 2018

State Planning Meeting: Aug. 19-21, 2018
Host communities recruit partners, develop local exhibits & programming

Project complete and report submitted: June 30, 2019