Indian “Commission” Signed by William Clark (1563)
This 1815 Indian commission was signed by William Clark of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame. Clark was appointed governor and superintendent of Indian affairs of Missouri Territory in 1813.
Government officials presented such commissions, often accompanied by medals, to Indian leaders as recognition of their status (in this case, as chief soldier of the Omaha Nation). The commissions and medals were diplomatic symbols meant to signal the government’s desire for peace and friendship. Indians highly prized the commissions even though they could not read them.