Following the Tippecanoe defeat, Tecumseh realized even more how important it was for a British alliance. During the war, the Indian nations fought more than forty battles and skirmishes against the U. In southern Canada, pro-British and pro-U. Iroquois found themselves fighting each other, but in most engagements, the native forces fought alongside the British. They were key to the British success at both Detroit and Queenston; at the Battle of Beaver dams native warriors, with no help from their British counterparts, defeated the Americans, taking prisoners of war.
Although the Creek War of is not normally viewed as a part of the War of , Creek resistance to the U. Army in the south led to a series of battles that eventually crushed Indian military power in that region. Perhaps the most significant battle took place in in Canada. Tecumseh and his warriors, deserted by the British forces, faced a pursuing army of Americans led by William Henry Harrison at the Battle of the Thames.
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As this confrontation became certain, Tecumseh promised his warriors that there would be no retreat. This battle, he felt, must be won in order to stop American westward expansion in all areas. But Tecumseh was mortally wounded, and his death and defeat marked the end of the native campaign to drive back white settlers. On a larger scale, the American victory cleared the way for the U.
Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States & American Indian Nations
After the War of , the U. Other native resistance movements sprang up, including the Black Hawk War of and the Second Seminole War to , but neither affected so many different Indian nations as did the War of Both the war and the treaty that ended it proved to be devastating to all of the eastern Indian nations. The Ghent agreement halted U. Learn More.
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A Native Nations Perspective on the War of By Donald Fixico The War of was an important conflict with broad and lasting consequences, particularly for the native inhabitants of North America. The Indian Confederation under Tecumseh The Shawnee war chief, Tecumseh, and his brother the Prophet, also known as Tenskatawa, played crucial roles in leading the Indians in the war.
Tippecanoe and the Aftermath In , when Tecumseh was in the South, a group of natives led by Tenskwatawa, attacked U. The Loss of a Leader Perhaps the most significant battle took place in in Canada. Support your local PBS station Donate. Credit: Library of Congress Tecumseh by B. Lossing after Pierre Le Dru.
Indians were denied the vote in many Western states by much the same methods as African-Americans were disenfranchised in the South. The Meriam Report, published in , showed that most Indians lived in extreme poverty, suffering from a poor diet, inadequate housing and limited health care. Schools were overcrowded and badly resourced. This new approach to Native Americans was enthusiastically endorsed by John Collier, who became Commissioner for Indian Affairs in Collier, a white American, believed that Native American community life and respect for the environment had much to teach American materialism, and he became passionately determined to preserve as much of the traditional Indian way of life as possible.
In particular, he wanted Native American reservations to be permanent, sovereign homelands. The centrepiece of his new policy was the Indian Reorganisation Act IRA which ended the policy of allotment, banned the further sale of Indian land and decreed that any unallotted land not yet sold should be returned to tribal control. It also granted Indian communities a measure of governmental and judicial autonomy. The IRA was vitally important in arresting the loss of Indian resources, and Collier, by directing New Deal funds towards the regeneration of Indian reservations, successfully encouraged a renewed respect for Native American culture and traditions.
Indian Nations vs. Settlers on the American Frontier: 1786–1788
Not surprisingly, some historians sympathetic to Native Americans have placed him and the IRA on a pedestal. Other historians, however, have argued that the IRA was highly controversial and, in many respects, unsuccessful. The Act assumed that most Native Americans wanted to remain on their reservations, and so it was vigorously opposed by those Indians who wanted to assimilate into white society and who resented the paternalism of the Bureau of Indian Affairs BIA. Although the IRA was accepted by out of a total of Indian tribes, a number of the larger tribes were among those who rejected it.
Those who voted against it totalled almost 24, The Santa Ysabel reservation in California was counted as giving the Act a 43 margin of approval, but only nine persons there actually voted for [the IRA].
Nation to Nation
The erosion of Indian land as a result of allotment had created a class of , landless Indians, adding to the problems of the reservations whose best land had been sold off since Few could become selfsustaining economically and Collier succeeded in adding only four million acres to their land base. Furthermore, the annual budget of the BIA was not large enough to cope with the demands of economic development for the reservations, let alone provide adequate educational and health facilities.
The BIA office was moved from Washington to Chicago in and its budget was cut as federal resources were devoted to more urgent war-related activities. The reservations lost a further million acres of land, including , acres for a gunnery range and some for the housing of Japanese-American internees. The experience of war also transformed the lives and attitudes of many Native Americans.
There were approximately , Native Americans in the USA in , of whom 25, served in the armed forces. This was a higher proportion than from any other ethnic minority. Recent films have celebrated some of their best-known contributions. The film Windtalkers dealt with a group of Navajo whose language provided the US military with an indecipherable code. A further 40, Native Americans worked in war-related industries. For many, this involved a permanent relocation to the cities and a willingness to assimilate into mainstream white culture.
Collier himself recognised that the federal government would need to change its Native American policy fundamentally as a result of the war. The following year he even hinted at a return to the policy of assimilation. Never before have they been so well prepared to take their places among the general citizenry and to become assimilated into the white population. The nation had just fought a major war to destroy one collectivist ideology — Nazism — and the onset of the Cold War in the late s made most Americans worried about the power and ambitions of another — Communism. Americans began stridently trumpeting the virtues of individual freedom against the collective ideology of the USSR.
Many conservative Congressmen had never liked it because they believed that the autonomy it granted to Native American communities gave them special privileges.
In January Collier, worn down by the growing hostility to his policies, resigned as Commissioner. The notion that it was time to terminate the wardship status of Native Americans and wind up federal responsibility for their welfare became increasingly popular in Washington in the postwar years. This would mean that BIA could be abolished, the reservations broken up, Indian resources sold off and the profits divided among tribal members.
Indians would become just like any other Americans — responsible as individuals for their own destiny.
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The IRA, by returning the land to communal ownership and making it inalienable, had limited the property rights of individual Indians. This programme was gradually expanded and by nearly 30 per cent of Native Americans lived in cities, as opposed to just 8 per cent in Securing housing, coping with prejudice and even understanding the everyday features of urban life such as traffic lights, lifts, telephones and clocks made the experience traumatic for many Indians.
Not surprisingly, many suffered unemployment, slum living and alcoholism. Federal funding for the relocation project was never sufficient to assist Native Americans to cope with these problems, and many drifted back to the reservations. The first step towards terminating the reservations came in when Congress, in part to reward Native Americans for their contribution to the war effort, set up the Indian Claims Commission to hear Indian claims for any lands stolen from them since the creation of the USA in The Commission was initially supported by the National Congress of American Indians NCAI , a pressure group formed in , because they welcomed a federal initiative to deal with long-standing grievances.
However, it was clear that the Commission would provide only financial compensation and not return any land. In August , Congress endorsed House Concurrent Resolution which is widely regarded as the principal statement of the termination policy:. It is the policy of Congress, as rapidly as possible, to make the Indians within the territorial limits of the United States subject to the same laws and entitled to the same privileges and responsibilities as are applicable to other citizens of the United States, to end their status as wards of the United States, and to grant them all the rights and prerogatives pertaining to American citizenship.
In the same month Congress passed Public Law which, in California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon and Wisconsin, transferred criminal jurisdiction from the Indians to the state authorities, except on certain specified reservations. Congress also repealed the laws banning the sale of alcohol and guns to Indians. In some Indian areas law and order disappeared altogether.
Many Native Americans were alarmed about the termination policy. But in Washington, it was seen in terms of freedom and opportunity.