The main war for empire in North America from the 1690s through the 1760s was what became known as the French and Indian War. A series of conflicts in North America between France and Great Britain led up to it. During part of this time, the two countries formally declared war, and fighting raged worldwide in what was called the Seven Years' War. The role of Native Americans in this conflict was not arbitrary, and they were not mere pawns of the Europeans. Each tribe had its own agenda and reasons for allying with one power or the other.
The two main reasons for involvement for Native Americans were trade and land. The Indians most deeply involved in the fur trade tended to fight alongside the French. These included the Algonquin, Mohawk, Ojibwa, Shawnee, Ottawa, Wyandot, Lenape, and the tribes belonging to the Wabanaki Confederacy; they were already business partners with the French. Additionally, these Indians thought that alliance with the French meant protection of their lands. Unlike the British, the French did not fill the land with settlers but were content to establish forts and trading posts in wilderness areas for the sake of the lucrative fur trade.
Tribes that allied with the British included the Iroquois, Chickasaws, Cherokee, and Catawba. Some of these tribes not only fought the French, but also the Spanish in western Florida. These tribes wanted to prove their loyalty to the British so that the British would honor treaties that would protect their tribal territories. Some Iroquois even fought for the British during the American Revolutionary War. Eventually, though, most of the treaties were broken, and the Native American lost their land regardless of loyalties.