Discuss the role of the Indians in the wars for empire from the 1690s through the 1760s. Were they simply pawns of the European combatants or did they have their own strategies and goals from the war? What factors caused Indian tribes and confederations to choose one European power over another as an ally?
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The Native Americans had a role in the wars for empire between 1690-1760. The Native Americans were in a tough spot. They knew the Europeans were coming and wanted their land. When we view the goals of the Native Americans, their goals included surviving, keeping their land, and maintaining their way of life, including making a living. Thus, the Native Americans had to decide which European power was the least threatening to them. For many Native Americans, they sided with the French. They had more trade with the French. The French had converted them to Christianity. Additionally, some of the French had married some of the Native Americans. When it came to choosing sides and achieving their goals, it really came down to relationships and trust. Therefore, from the viewpoint of many of the tribes, the French were a better choice for them. However, in reality, the Europeans really would use the Native Americans to achieve their (European) goals. Thus, while the Native Americans had their own goals and agendas, their fate was doomed (as history would prove) once the Europeans arrived in the New World.
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