A. Treating Indians as Citizens of Separate Nations
As has been discussed above, the United States originally viewed Indians exclusively as citizens of their own separate nations. Early relations with the Indian nations reflected this view as the United States relied upon diplomacy and treaties--the instruments of international relations--as the primary means of discourse with them. In these treaties, the United States acknowledged the separate political status of the Indian nations party to the treaty, even though the same treaty may have contained provisions for the extension of the federal government's protection over them and their lands. This conceptualization was reaffirmed by early federal laws dealing with Indian affairs, which viewed the Indian nations as separate territories over which the United States could not exercise direct control. This policy of treating Indians as citizens of their own separate nations has continued to the present day, albeit with periodic digressions.