The American Revolutionary War has formally ended with the Treaty of Paris. The Native American tribes who had fought for the British are shocked and confused, learning that the British lost the conflict, and the victorious Americans are now claiming lands belonging to the tribes. How can they be a conquered people, having never lost a battle to the Long Knives the tribes are asking.
Although the British want the native tribes to continue being partners in the fur trade, and to help them guard their borders of Quebec Province against American aggression, the British never even mentioned their native allies in the Treaty of Paris. Realizing they were left to deal with the Americans themselves, a great tribal conference was held in Upper Sandusky in the Ohio Country. This great council of all the tribes was presided over by Chief Joseph Brant of the Mohawk.
“Today I listened to the words of Thayendanaegea, the great Mohawk sachem the White’s call Joseph Brant. He has told us that in order to protect our lands from being stolen by the Americans that we must all become as one. This is something we do not understand very well, but Thayendanaegea has warned us that it is no longer safe, nor to our benefit, to walk separate paths. He has proposed a great confederation made up of Miami, Pottawatomie, Chippewa, Ottawa, Wea, Wyandot, Delaware, Mingo, Chickamauga, Mississauga, and we Shawnee. ‘We must become a dish with one spoon,’ he said.
When the fighting stopped between the English King and his rebellious children in the colonies, we were told that peace had returned to our lands. ‘Put down your hatchet, but keep them close at hand,’ the commandant of Detroit had told us. We did so, and very soon, and without provocation, George Rogers Clark attacked and destroyed many of our towns on the Great Miami. When we, along with our cousins the Miami, and our grandfathers the Delaware retaliated for this, the British told us they will not come to our assistance if we start a war. We are on our own. The Americans have made it clear they will come to take the land we now live on, claiming they won it by conquest. They won nothing. We will do as Thayendanaegea says and become united against the Long Knives, who are many in number. They have never defeated us, and they will learn that they are not our conquerors. They will try to divide us, but they will not succeed. They will try to fight us, but we are too strong and they will lose.”
Lame Wolf, Kispoko Shawnee