• Bombs bursting in air over Baltimore in 1813

    War of 1812

Native Nations

Native nations from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico experienced the War of 1812 as but a chapter in a much longer struggle to defend their homelands against European encroachment and settlement. The "New World" that Europeans encountered beginning in the 1400s was home to Native civilizations compelled increasingly to adjust to life on a continent becoming dominated by European, then American settlement. As empires moved westward into Native territory, new Native alliances brought together coalitions of nations. Spiritual and cultural renewal combined with military resistance as Native communities attempted to stem the tide of American expansion and maintain independence and autonomy.

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  • "Civilizing" Native Peoples: American Policies to Remake Tribal Worlds

    American Policies to Remake Tribal Worlds

    After the American Revolution, the Washington administration embraced a program to ,civilize҆ native peoples, transforming Indians from tribal peoples into individuals who could be easily assimilated into American society. Read more

  • A Price to Pay to Stay Home

    Colorful map showing Indian land cessation in Michigan

    Immediately the Michigan tribes had to enter into treaty negotiations with the United States in order to stay in their homelands. For the tribes, this meant ceding away millions of acres of ancestral homelands to avoid removal to Kansas and Oklahoma. Read more

  • American Expansion Turns to Official Indian Removal

    Seal of Wisconsin: a farmer and steamboat surrounding an Indian

    Euro-Americans were more interested in settled agriculturethan they were in sustaining the fur trade that had characterized the region for more than a century. Americans aggressively pushed Indians to become virtually indistinguishable from themselves, or failing that, to relocate them from areas of American settlement altogether, a political development that came to characterize US relations in the 1800s with Indian nations westward all the way to the Pacific. Read more

  • Niagara Falls National Heritage Area

    Borderland Loyalties

    Portrait of Teyoninhokovrawen, also known as Major John Norton

    It was true during the War of 1812, and remains so today. There is no guarantee that personal, political, and ethnic loyalties match international borders. Read more

  • Breaking Rugged Boundaries: American Expansion onto Indian Lands

    Speech from Shawnee Chief Tecumseh to governor William Henry Harrison

    From the earliest settlement of the United States, American settlers have conflicted with American Indian neighbors over border and land disputes. Boundary lines established with the American Indians by the British leading into the American Revolution began chafing the American state after independence. This resulted in hostilities and eventually war as the United States dedicated itself to pressing westward at any cost. Read more