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Indians in the American Revolutionary Era

Corn Tassel, Speech at Treaty Talks with Virginia and North California, 1777

This document presents a reply from George Corn Tassel, the Cherokee leader, to the claim of the North Carolina government to enter Cherokee lands. The speech of this leader is polite and convincing as it aims at the provision of strong arguments towards the protection of Native Americans (“Corn Tassel, Speech at Treaty Talks with Virginia and North California, 1777”). In particular, Corn Tassel emphasizes that hunting is the way of life of Cherokee people that helps them to support their lives by different means, including food, clothing, and so on. In his speech, the leader points out the significance of land for Native Americans as well as the fact that entering it, North Carolina is likely to spoil natural resources. In this regard, Corn Tassel asks to let his Brothers live in peace and safety, ceasing mourning wars and following The Great Peacemaker’s testaments.

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The mentioned speech reflects new worlds for all term, when European colonists started to settle North America down and when the indigenous peoples had to adjust to new circumstances. Considering that Cherokee belonged to Iroquois Confederacy, it is possible to note that this situation was caused by the Grand Settlement of 1701, proposing 16 years of peace that were gone by the Speech at Treaty Talks with Virginia and North California.

Delaware Indians, Letter to George Morgan, 1779

The letter to George Morgan is an answer of Delaware Indians to Taimenend, the American Indian agent, who provided initiatives to establish and preserve peace on the territory of Delaware Indians. Keeping a neutral position in the war between Americans and Englishmen, they signed an agreement, allowing the United States’ troops to cross the lands of Delawares (“Delaware Indians, Letter to George Morgan, 1779”). In response, the US offered sovereignty and position in Congress. However, the American army murdered the leader of Delawares White Eyes, thus unleashing a war that was a part of Beaver Wars. As a result, Delaware Indians sided the British forces in the context of the Covenant Chain.

It should be stressed that the Letter to George Morgan represents the peaceful position of Delaware Indians, who tried to resolve the conflict in a peaceful way first as they considered manitou, the omnipresent spiritual and essential life force inherent to everything. In spite of violence from the side of Americans, Indians tend to adhere to peaceful methods where possible. At the same time, sometimes the actions of newcomers were rather brutal and harsh like in the case of the mystic massacre when the entire village was burned during the Pequot War.

Big tree, Cornplanter, and Half-Town, Letter to George Washington, 1790

Big tree, Cornplanter, and Half-Town tribes united under Seneca nation headed by the Indian alcalde expressed their opinions regarding the agreement at Fort Stanwix. The emergence of an independent American state on the continent played a decisive role in the fate of the Indians. The founders of the state, who believed in the divine predestination of their nation, initially assumed the territorial expansion of the country (“Big tree, Cornplanter, and Half-Town, Letter to George Washington, 1790”). During the first hundred years of the existence of the United States, indigenous peoples lost almost all their lands and independence. However, historically this process did not develop in a straightforward manner. The policy of the US government towards the Indians took various forms at various stages. In particular, the Seneca nation tried to communicate and collaborate with the government. In its letter to the President, the nation representative questions the relevancy of actions made by the American army. Realizing the power of the Americans, these indigenous peoples prefer to fight for independence rather than to surrender.

The “Black Robe” movie can be noted here as it clearly demonstrates the cultural difficulties of colonization. It emphasizes that the process is violent and usually leads to the acculturation of one of the nations involved in the conflict. Thus, as can be seen from the broader context, plenty of Native American nations had to lost their identity in the course of interaction with British and American forces. Furthermore, the term kinship politics is also attributable to this case as Senecas were a part of the Iroquois Confederacy that is known for its chiefly warfare.

United Indian Nations, Speech at the Confederate Council, 1786

The United Indian Nations that included the Five Nations and other tribes expressed their disappointment by the fact that no agreement was signed on the issue of indigenous peoples’ lands and culture (“United Indian Nations, Speech at the Confederate Council, 1786”). In particular, no general conference was initiated to discuss the mentioned issues. Therefore, the United Indian Nations kindly invoke the Confederate Council to resolve these issues. The river Ohio as well as the protection of rights and privileges were especially important for them.

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Speaking of dangers experienced by these indigenous peoples, one may note the so-called virgin soil epidemics that included European diseases to which Indians had no immunity. Also, the establishment of praying towns to convert Indians to Christianity made an impact upon them. It led to acculturation and the loss of indigenous culture. The Indian slave trade was initiated by newcomers to gain wealth through forcible forms of labor. For example, the Mississippian shatter zone is known for its slave trade that made plenty of Indians lost their lives and freedom.

Little Turtle (Miami) on the Treaty of Greenville, 1795

The reservation boundaries of Little Turtle nation are the object of this document. The division of lands between Indians and Americans was another complicated question that required much time and effort (“Little Turtle (Miami) on the Treaty of Greenville, 1795”). The “Black Robe” film shows every character in real conditions of those times, explaining community difficulties associated with culture and land. Most importantly, the environment of Indians changed with the arrival of Europeans. Some people served as interpreters in an attempt to facilitate restraining forces, for example, John Sassamon, a Christian prayer. One more prominent interpreter was Squanto, also known as Tisquantum, who contributed to the creation of praying towns.

Conclusion

Considering the above-mentioned documents, it is possible to note that the historical experience of the struggle of Native Americans was marked by a range of essential events and treaties. Today, a characteristic feature of the political self-awareness of the US Indians is their performance in international forums, where more attention is paid to legal issues in order to achieve recognition of these treaties as well as their implementation. It goes without saying that the mentioned documents go in line with each other, emphasizing the significance of independence for the Native Americans. In particular, they strived and continue to do it for their rights and freedom as integral citizens of the state. One of the core causes of armed conflicts between the Indigenous peoples and American and British forces was colonization and its benefits of enrichment.

Works Cited

“Big tree, Cornplanter, and Half-Town, Letter to George Washington, 1790.” Captive Nations. Lecture.

“Corn Tassel, Speech at Treaty Talks with Virginia and North California, 1777.” The Delawares and the Treaty of Fort Pitt, Lecture.

“Delaware Indians, Letter to George Morgan, 1779.” The Delawares and the Treaty of Fort Pitt. Lecture.

“Little Turtle (Miami) on the Treaty of Greenville, 1795.” Domestic Dependant Nations. Lecture.

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“United Indian Nations, Speech at the Confederate Council, 1786.” Indian Voices From the New Nations. Lecture.

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StudyCorgi. "Indians in the American Revolutionary Era." December 28, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/indians-in-the-american-revolutionary-era/.

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Indians in the American Revolutionary Era." December 28, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/indians-in-the-american-revolutionary-era/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Indians in the American Revolutionary Era'. 28 December.

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