The Indian Wars

When the English showed up in the New World, they brought with them the European idea that people owned land, and they considered Native Americans to be barbarians. These ideas went against the beliefs of Native Americans who thought that people were only temporary caretakers of the land. These opposing opinions were the basis for bad relations between the rightful residents and the English invaders. Throughout the history of the United States, it caused bad relations to the point of many wars. As the settlers spread out and continued westward, the wars between them and the Native Americans got worse.

Chief Tecumseh

  • In 1811, Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee tribe gathered a group of Native Americans to slow down the settlers that were invading what is now Indiana and Illinois. William Henry Harrison, the Territorial Governor, led troops of militia and soldiers to destroy the village of the Shawnee, and eventually agreed to a ceasefire. However, the brother of the Chief refused the ceasefire and continued the attack. Harrison’s troop of men won, and this was known as the Battle of Tippecanoe.
  • The loss at the Battle of Tippecanoe led Chief Tecumseh to join with British troops to fight against the United States and their Native American allies. This was known as the War of 1812. There were many fights and battles during this war, with one of the most famous beings in Ontario, along the Thames River. Later known as the Battle of Thames, Tecumseh’s group, along with the British, were defeated when the Chief was killed in the battle, many of the Native Americans gave up their support for the British.
  • The Creek tribes had split into two factions in 1814. Those that supported the American cause were called the Lower Creeks, with the Upper Creeks being those that resented the Americans. These two groups were battling a civil war with the American militia fighting with the Lower Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in what is now Alabama. The fight ended with the signing of the Treaty of Fort Jackson and the Creeks tribes, giving up around two million acres of land.
  • There were three wars that were called the Seminole Wars. The first was from 1816 to 1818 and was in defense of the then Spanish Florida against the U.S. Army and was aided by runaway slaves. The Second Seminole War was from 1835 to 1842 when the Native Americans were almost completely wiped out as they battled to keep their land in the Florida Everglades area. The Third Seminole War was from 1855 to 1858 and was their last battle. The tribe was outnumbered and was forced to move to an Oklahoma reservation.
  • President Andrew Jackson disliked Native Americans, and in 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act, which gave the U.S. government the ability to move Native Americans from the land that they had lived in for hundreds of years to areas east of the Mississippi River. By 1838 the U.S. Government forcibly moved around 15,000 Cherokee natives, making them walk over 1,200 miles. This is known as the Trail of Tears and is considered one of the most shameful in American history. Over 3,000 Native Americans died as they traveled through harsh weather and territory. This situation didn’t sit well with Chief Black Hawk, and in 1832 he gathered nearing 1,000 Fox and Sauk Indians to reclaim their land. This battle is called the Black Hawk War, and the tribes lost terribly to the U.S. Army, militias, and other Indian tribes that were fighting with the U.S. troops.
  • In 1864 The Sand Creek Massacre happened when Chief Black Kettle was forced to take 750 peaceful Arapaho and Cheyenne out of their winter campsite in Colorado. When they set up camp at Sand Creek, they were attacked by volunteer soldiers who slaughtered 148 men, women, and children.
  • Even as treaties were signed with Native American tribes, the U.S. government-backed out of their treaties and created laws that undermined Native Americans. Eventually, the Native Americans were given no choice but to live on reservations.


What is the name of the battle in 1811 when Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee tried to slow down invading settlers?
The Battle of Tippecanoe

What was the name of the two divisions of the Creek tribe that fought with and against U.S. troops?
Lower Creek and Upper Creek

How many Seminole Wars were there?

What is the name given to the attack by American volunteer soldiers on Chief Black Kettle and his group of peaceful Native Americans?
The Sand Creek Massacre

What American President was known for disliking Native Americans and signed a law that ended up causing quite a few battles?
Andrew Jackson

Which Native American Chief joined to fight with the British against the U.S. troops in the Battle of 1812?
Chief Tecumseh