BEMIDJI, Minn. — A new exhibit at Bemidji State University explores the relationship between Native Americans and both the federal and state government.

The "Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations" exhibit describes how pacts were forged and how they've affected life for the state's Dakota and Ojibwe people, the Bemidji Pioneer reported ( ).

The exhibit was created out of a partnership between the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of the American Indian. It opened Thursday at the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State.

"It's a good way to build perspective, especially in an area like ours, where these two worlds rarely seem to interact with each other," said Anton Treuer, the center's executive director.

More than 10 percent of treaties ever signed between the U.S. government and American Indians involved people and land in what is now Minnesota. Some pacts involved transferring land from Native American to U.S. control and others allowed Indians to keep their land.

The exhibit shows photographs of Native Americans and maps explaining which land exchanged hands. It also tells the stories of those who signed the treaties, and how treaties signed 150 years ago continue to influence circumstances in current times.

The free exhibit runs through Aug. 22.