After the American Revolution (1775-1800), how was the relationship between the Native Americans and the American People?I have two different documents stating two different things. I have a...

After the American Revolution (1775-1800), how was the relationship between the Native Americans and the American People?

I have two different documents stating two different things. I have a document (dated 1783) from a Indian Chief to Congress, saying that he is happy Great Britain and America are at peace and that America is inclined to befriend the Indians. Then i have a document (dated 1786) from the United Indian Nation to the Confederate Council, saying that they were disappointed that America has signed treaties and done other things without consulting them.

Asked on by jc211

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The relationship between both is complex and filled with nuances, but overall it was fairly bad after the Revolution.  Many Patriots who had been victorious had to harbor some level of resentment towards Native Americans who either remained silent or supported England in the conflict.  Others felt imbued with the spirit of expansion, which came at the cost of Native Americans.  Essentially, with the British out of the New World, there was no order left to enforce any potential agreements between White America and Native Americans.  The former could violate any spirit of accord reached and this would have had to held a major impact on any sort of relationship between both.  Indeed, I think your 1783 document is interesting because it might reflect the idea that there could be peace between both sides now that White America's freedom was established.  I think you might want to read more of the document to see if the tone of it was hopeful reconciliation.  It would make sense if these were the hopes of Native Americans, only to be dashed by the procedures of the new government and social order.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that the seeming contradiction in your two documents is actually very helpful.  That's because the relations between Indians and Americans was not always the same.

In general, the relationship was bad.  It had generally been bad almost from the time the settlers got to North America and it would, for the most part, remain bad.  During the time period you mention you have, for example, the Battle of the Fallen Timbers and you have the British trying more generally to get the Indians to attack Americans.

But it's not that simple because not every tribe was in the same situation.  Some tribes would be trying to use the whites as allies against their own enemies.  After all, the whites were a source of weapons and power.  So I would interpret that first document like that.  I'd say the second one shows how things usually were, but the first showed how things were sometimes when the Indians' and the whites' interests coincided in a limited time and place.

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