Native Americans were more familiar to colonists than is properly understood.
Settlers of European descent found it completely unremarkable to see Indians in
the streets of colonial America. Native Americans were tailors, gun-stockers,
carpenters, whalers -- people fully integrated into the colonial economy.
George Washington knew many Indians from his military experience, as well as
from his days as a surveyor. Thomas Jefferson was an admirer of Indians and
wrote extensively about them in his Notes on the State of Virginia.
None of which prevented colonists from continually encroaching on native
During the Revolutionary War many Indians sided with, and fought alongside, the
Americans. But most ended up with the British, for a variety of reasons,
including the fact that King George III had attempted to protect Indian lands
from American settlers, who were pushing deeper and deeper into Indian
Perhaps the most well-known Native American of the period was Joseph
Brant, called Thayendanegea by his own Mohawk people. Brant was educated at
a missionary school in Connecticut and was connected through marriage to Sir
William Johnson, the British superintendent of Indian Affairs in the years
prior to the Revolution.
Brant remained loyal to the British during the war. He became a leader of
Indian forces in a number of critical Revolutionary War fights. In 1779, a
Continental Army led by General John Sullivan swept through Pennsylvania and
upstate New York, burning Indian villages. The force ultimately defeated Brant
and his Mohawks, who retreated to Canada. The six tribes of the Iroquois
Confederation, including the Mohawk, were split irrevocably by the