Originally Posted By: Rich_Tallcot
why was it that all the Iroquois tribes did not take sides? And why did those that did chose take opposite sides? I guess they couldn't have been too compelled. Your assumptions lack merit.

MY assumptions ? ? ?

That's a roar! Let's start out by correcting ALL of yours...

While the previous explorations of African American and white female experience suggest both the gains and limitations produced in the Revolutionary Era, from the perspective of almost all NATIVE AMERICANS the American Revolution was an unmitigated disaster. At the start of the war Patriots worked hard to try and ensure Indian neutrality, for Indians could provide strategic military assistance that might decide the struggle. Gradually, however, it became clear to most native groups, that an independent America posed a far greater threat to their interests and way of life than a continued British presence that restrained American westward expansion.

CHEROKEES and CREEKS (among others TRIBES) in the southern interior and most Iroquois nations in the northern interior provided crucial support to the British war effort. With remarkably few exceptions, Native American support for the British was close to universal.

The experience of the IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY in current-day northern New York provides a clear example of the consequences of the Revolution for American Indians. The Iroquois represented an alliance of six different native groups who had responded to the dramatic changes of the colonial era more successfully than most other Indians in the eastern third of North America. Their political alliance, which had begun to take shape in the 15th- century, even before the arrival of European colonists, was the most durable factor in their persistence in spite of the disastrous changes brought on by European contact.

During the American Revolution, the Confederacy fell apart for the first time since its creation as different Iroquois groups fought against one another.
The MOHAWK chief THAYENDANEGEA (known to Anglo-Americans as JOSEPH BRANT) was the most important Iroquois leader in the Revolutionary Era. He convinced four of the six Iroquois nations to join him in an alliance with the British and was instrumental in leading combined Indian, British, and Loyalist forces on punishing raids in western New York and Pennsylvania in 1778 and 1779. These were countered by a devastating Patriot campaign into Iroquois country that was explicitly directed by General Washington to both engage warriors in battle and to destroy all Indian towns and crops so as to limit the military threat posed by the Indian-British alliance.

In spite of significant Native American aid to the British, the European treaty negotiations that concluded the war in 1783 had no native representatives. Although Ohio and Iroquois Indians had not surrendered nor suffered a final military defeat, the United States claimed that its victory over the British meant a victory over Indians as well. Not surprisingly, due to their lack of representation during treaty negotiations, Native Americans received very poor treatment in the diplomatic arrangements. The British retained their North American holdings north and west of the Great Lakes, but granted the new American republic all land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. In fact, this region was largely unsettled by whites and mostly inhabited by Native Americans. As a Wea Indian complained about the failed military alliance with the British, "In endeavoring to assist you it seems we have wrought our own ruin." Even groups like the ONEIDA, one of the Iroquois nations that allied with the Americans, were forced to give up TRADITIONAL LANDS with other native groups.

Despite the sweeping setback to Native Americans represented by the American Revolution, native groups in the trans-Appalachian west would remain a vital force and a significant military threat to the new United States. Relying on support from SPANISH COLONISTS in New Orleans as well as assistance from the British at FORT DETROIT, varied native groups continued to resist Anglo-American incursions late into the 19th century.

This ongoing resistance resulted in treaties with the United States that would much later be the basis for redressing some illegal losses of INDIAN LANDS. Although the meaning of the Revolution for most Native American groups was disastrous, their continued struggle for autonomy, independence, and full legal treatment resulted in partial victories at a much later date. In some ways, this native struggle showed a more thorough commitment to certain revolutionary principles than that demonstrated by the Patriots themselves.



During the American War for Independence, many Native Americans sided with the Americans, but a majority supported the British. The crown promised to protect native lands from encroaching American settlers. Many Native Americans were partially assimilated into the American colonies
One of the most well prominent was Thayendanegea, or Joseph Brant, a leader of the Mohawk tribe. He was educated at the Moor's Indian Charity School (predecessor of Dartmouth) in 1761 where he learned to speak write and read English. He worked for the British as a translator and fought with British forces during the war.

Initially both sides in the war urged the Native Americans to stay out of the conflict. But by 1776 both sides courted the Iroquois Confederacy. Brant succeeded in getting 4 of the 6 Iroquois tribes (Mohawks, Cayugas, Onondagas, and Senecas) to fight for the British, and warriors from the other two tribes, the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, fought with the Americans. This forever dissolved the Confederacy which had kept the tribes a strong force in the north. Other Native tribes in the south also took sides.

Most fought with the British, but all lost in the Peace which followed. The Preliminary Articles of Peace of 1782 did not mention the Native Americans at all. Brant was outraged that the British were selling out the tribes.The British failed to set aside areas which were promised by Treaties they had made with the tribes.

The British views were mixed. "It might have been easily reserved and inserted that those lands the Crown relinquished to all the Indn. Nations as their Right and property were out of its power to treat for, which would have saved the Honor of Government with respect to that Treaty," Daniel Claus, the British agent for the Six Nations in Canada write concerning the boundaries of the Indian country established by the Fort Stanwix treaty line of 1768. "Our treaties with them were solemn," Lord Walsingham stated, "and ought to have been binding on our honour." Lord Shelburne, on the other hand, defended the Preliminary Articles, asserting that "in the present treaty with America, the Indian nations were not abandoned to their enemies; they were remitted to the care of neighbors."

In 1783, under the terms of the Peace of Paris, without regard to its Indian allies, Britain handed over to the new United States all its territory east of the Mississippi, south of the Great Lakes, and north of Florida even though much of that land was not British according to its treaties with native tribes.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.