America's Relationship with Native Americans

Essential Question

What was the U.S.’s relationship with Native Americans?

Pressure on Native Americans & Treaties

Settlers wanted more and more land on the frontier and saw Native Americans as obstacles or children who were incapable of using their land. Much of the Early Americans' attitudes towards Native Americans were racist and violent. Individual Indian nations found it difficult to match up against U.S. firepower so, many chiefs and tribal leaders felt they had to agree to the treaties offered. Slowly, native land started shrinking and led to increased competition for hunting grounds and conflicts between tribes. The lack of land and resources created poverty in Native communities and was made worse from the effects of diseases and alcohol. Furthermore, more than 75 treaties were made with Native Americans between the years 1789-1817 (a span of just 28 years), and most were broken.

In these treaties, Native American groups gave up rights to live on and hunt in certain areas of land. In exchange, Native American groups received money and trade goods in payment for the land. They also received a specified area of land that was set aside for their use. In addition, U.S. negotiators promised not to seek further land for settlement (Which was not true). An example is the treaty of Grenville, which was signed in 1795, a year after the U.S. victory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Twelve tribes gave the United States much of present-day Ohio and Indiana and the area that would someday become the home of the city of Chicago.

Tecumseh and Native Resistance

Activity 1: Primary Source - Speech at Vincennes

Define the vocabulary words, read the primary source excerpts, and answer the text-dependent questions.

Primary Source-Speech at Vincennes

Discussion Questions

  • How would you describe America's relationship with Native Americans?

  • What effects did America's westward expansion have on Native Americans?

  • How did Native Americans resist American expansion?

Activity 2: How would you describe the U.S.'s relationship with Native Americans?

Using the information from this lesson, answer the questions in a thinking map. Complete this assignment digitally or on paper. It will be collected in your portfolio.

Extension Activity