The Great Peace, also known as the Great Peace of Montreal, was a treaty signed by the colony of New France and thirty-nine Indigenous nations on August 4, 1701. It effectively ended the series of disruptive and violent conflicts known as the Beaver Wars.
This treaty has largely been seen as a positive thing. It brought a period of stability to the region that lasted for sixty years. However, there were negatives worth considering. The treaty required the French to be arbiters of inter-tribal strife. With the French at the helm, diplomacy and negotiation would occur rather than bloodshed. At times this created some strife, as various First Nations competed for favoritism with the French. Sometimes, certain first nations tried to play both sides of the great colonial struggle between the French and English. For instance, the Mohawk, Mahican, and Iroquois had formalized relations and treaties with both colonial powers. This led to delicate diplomatic relations as they struggled to remain in favorable relationships with both European nations.
There were also times when the Great Peace was unable to prevent strife. For instance, in the 1730s, the Mississauga were able to displace fellow treaty signers, the Seneca, from their territory near Lake Erie. While French authorities were displeased by this, they were powerless to stop it.
Ultimately, the greatest negative of the Great Peace was that it was unable to survive the colonial struggles between the French and English. When the English ousted the French from Canada and the Ohio River Valley in the 1760s, the main provisions of the treaty became moot. Although peace amongst many of the Indigenous signatories remained long afterward, the treaty itself became unenforceable without the presence of the French.