- ›› Coverage Organizations : Shawnees
The story of the Native people who came in contact with colonial Virginians is a complex and layered story of diplomacy. We often refer to these nations as tribes today, but each had independence, political autonomy, and what we should think of as foreign policies designed to deal with other American Indian nations and with the European nations who were settling in North America.
Most Indians tried to stay neutral in what they saw as a British civil war. Even when, eventually, most sided with the British, they were not fighting against freedom; like the American patriots, they fought to defend their freedom as they understood it. In Indian eyes, aggressive Americans posed a greater threat than did a distant king to their land, their liberty, and their way of life. The American War of Independence was an Indian war for independence as well.