Indigenous Peoples

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 homelands against Euro- American encroachment and settlement. As empires moved westward, 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.


Some tribal leaders enthusiastically agreed with the vision for a united federation, others vehemently opposed it. This tension soon folded in to the larger, growing conflict between the new United States of America and its former colonial power, Great Britain. Some native nations allied with the British to fight their common enemy, while others sided with the Americans, in the hopes that promises of land and autonomy would be honored. The fates and lands of American Indian tribal communities lay in the balance as nations from across an ocean waged war for lands that indigenous people claimed as their own.

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    Last updated: May 4, 2015

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