Warpaths: Invasions of North America

By Ian K. Steele | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
DIFFERENT DRUMMERS
1759-1765

The last major European invasion of Amerindian colonial America was the intrusion into the Ohio Valley, which had triggered the climactic last Anglo-French struggle and been fundamentally altered by the war's outcome. The Ohio Delaware had voiced suspicion of the Europeans from the early 1750s:

[W]hy do you come to fight in the Land that God has given us. . . . Why don't you and the French fight in the old Country, and on the Sea? Why do you come to fight on our Land? This makes every Body believe you want to take the Land from us, by force and settle it. 1

Amerindians who had survived the initial waves of European diseases, who lived by firearms, and who thoroughly understood the threat of European farmers were trying to preserve their land and their way of life by shrewdly exploiting rivalries between the European imperial powers, as well as those between the Six Nations and the Susquehanna Delaware.

The Ohio Amerindians were also cooperating comparatively well across tribal and linguistic lines, and most of them spoke related Algonquian languages. The French alliance had brought chiefs and warriors together at conferences and on campaigns, arbitrated some intertribal differences, and introduced a religion that created additional fraternal connections. Intertribal links were even closer among the Amerindians of the upper Ohio Valley, where some villages were multitribal, shared by Shawnee, Delaware, and Mingo. The Shawnee and Delaware also shared grievances against the English who had taken their lands east of the mountains through war or chicanery. A call to unite in defense of a threatened Amerindian way of life would find special resonance here.

At the end of 1758, there were some prospects of holding the English invaders to the east of the Appalachians. In the recent years of French victory, Shawnee, Delaware, and Mingo inhabitants, accompanied by Canadian, Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi allies, had pushed back

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