- This article is about the Indians of the Confederation of North America. For the Indians of the United States of Mexico, see Indian.
Indians refers to the indigenous inhabitants of North America prior to the arrival of European settlers. It is believed that the Indians first came to North America from Siberia via a now-submerged land bridge across the Bering Strait.
The Indians proved very susceptible to diseases brought by Europeans, and there were a series of epidemics among them between the arrival of the Spanish in 1492 and the nineteenth century. Some of these epidemics were deliberately introduced by Europeans, the best-known example being Sir Jeffrey Amherst, Commander-in-Chief of the British army in North America, who wrote in 1763 praising the use of smallpox-infected blankets to "extirpate" the Indian race.
The settlement of North America by the British was marked by a series of wars between the colonists and the Indians, most notably King Philip's War in the 1670s, and Pontiac's War in the 1760s. One of the issues leading to the American Crisis of the 1760s and 1770s was the question of who would have the authority to negotiate treaties and land purchases from the Indians. The Albany Plan of Union, drafted by Benjamin Franklin in 1754, would have vested the authority to treat with the Indians in the proposed union government. Under the terms of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the British Crown outlawed the private purchase of Indian land, which had often created problems in the past; instead, all future land purchases were to be made by Crown officials "at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians". Furthermore, British colonists were forbidden to move beyond a boundary known as the Proclamation Line and settle on native lands, and colonial officials were forbidden to grant grounds or lands without royal approval. The proclamation gave the Crown a monopoly on all future land purchases from North American Indians.
During the North American Rebellion of 1775 - 1778, most of the Indian tribes, including the powerful Iroquois Confederacy of New York Province, remained neutral or allied themselves with the British. After the failure of the Rebellion, Parliament passed the Britannic Design, which reorganized the colonies into the Confederation of North America. Sobel does not say whether the Design delgated Indian affairs to the individual confederations, to the Confederation government in Burgoyne, or reserved them to the Crown.
Sobel makes few mentions of relations between the Indians and the C.N.A. under the Britannic Design. The Shawnee Chief Tecumseh began building a confederation among the Indian tribes of Indiana, including the Iowa, Missouri, Osage, and Dakota, in 1803. Tecumseh led his confederation in an uprising in 1810, resulting in several defeats for the army of the confederation of Indiana under General William Henry Harrison, culminating in an attack on Burgoyne itself by Tecumseh's warriors in 1814. Harrison was able to assemble an army including troops from the two eastern confederations in 1815, and Tecumseh's army was driven away, though never defeated in open battle. The threat of Indian attacks remained a fact of life in Indiana for the next four decades, and all of the confederation's cities included exterior fortifications.
The last major Indian war was led by Chief John Miller of the Osage, a tribe located in the southeastern part of the confederation of Vandalia. In the 1830s, Miller converted to Christianity, and claimed to be both the Messiah and the reincarnation of Tecumseh. Miller promised to establish an earthly paradise in the C.N.A. after the white settlers, who he claimed were agents of the devil, had been destroyed. Thousands of Indians from Vandalia and Indiana joined Miller's army, and in the summer of 1839 he led them against Michigan City, laying siege to the city on 7 July and taking it two weeks later. Miller remained in control of Michigan City until October 19, when General Winfield Scott led a unified North American army into the city, overrunning Miller's army and slaughtering them to the last man.
During the Rocky Mountain War with the U.S.M., a significant number of North American Indians left the C.N.A. and served alongside the Mexican armies. They presumably remained there after the signing of the Hague Treaty in 1855, settling in the Mexican states of Arizona and Mexico del Norte.
Sobel makes no further mention of the C.N.A.'s Indians after the Rocky Mountain War.
Sobel's sources for the Indians of the Confederation of North America are Colonel Harry Warner's The Michigan City Inquiry: Scott and the Nation (New York, 1906); James Paulding's The Indian Question in Indianan Foreign Policy (New York, 1959) and One State, Two Nations: Indianan and Indian (New York, 1967); James Barrett's Counting the Cost: The Legacy of Tecumseh (Mexico City, 1960); Frank Cockrill's What Happened at Michigan City? (London, 1968); and Henry Brand's Tecumseh and the Indianan Wars (New York, 1970).