Inter(Nation)al is a pilot podcast and radio project that shows the hidden history behind current events through the lens of treaties signed between the U.S. Government and Native Nations. To this day, these treaties bind all of us—both legally and culturally.

Treaties are behind a current legal conflict over jurisdiction of the Penobscot River in Maine, which hinges in part on promises made shortly after the Revolutionary War. California’s long-hidden and unratified treaties made during the Gold Rush are still affecting cultural identity today. The story of the Treaty of Fort Laramie can help explain the conflict at Standing Rock.

Inter(Nation)al was developed by independent producers Isaac Kestenbaum, Allison Herrera (Salinan) and Josephine Holtzman at NPR’s highly selective StoryLab program, and one of only two projects to receive funding from StoryLab this year. Journalist Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Baddock) is serving in an advisory role, along with Colin Woodard, Joaqlin Estus (Tlingit), Art Hughes and Bryan Pollard (Cherokee).

The Inter(Nation)al team is working directly with NPR editorial staff to create a series of broadcasts that will air on NPR’s news magazine programming, as well as a pilot podcast episode and a short video in partnership with NPR’s video team.

This is not just history for Native People, nor only for a non-native audience. This is a shared history that is foundational to this entire country.

A Few Things to Know About Why Treaties Matter

The U.S. has ratified more than 370 treaties with American Indian nations. Yet many Americans know little about the treaties that shaped, and continue to impact, the country today.