Native Americans in the American Revolution

How the War Divided, Devastated, and Transformed the Early American Indian World

by Ethan A. Schmidt


For many colonists, the American Revolution provided the opportunity to continue displacing Native Americans.

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May 2014


Pages 225
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics American History/Conflict

This valuable book provides a succinct, readable account of an oft-neglected topic in the historiography of the American Revolution: the role of Native Americans in the Revolution's outbreak, progress, and conclusion.

There has not been an all-encompassing narrative of the Native American experience during the American Revolutionary War period—until now. Native Americans in the American Revolution: How the War Divided, Devastated, and Transformed the Early American Indian World fills that gap in the literature, provides full coverage of the Revolution's effects on Native Americans, and details how Native Americans were critical to the Revolution's outbreak, its progress, and its conclusion.

The work covers the experiences of specific Native American groups such as the Abenaki, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Delaware, Iroquois, Seminole, and Shawnee peoples with information presented by chronological period and geographic area. The first part of the book examines the effects of the Imperial Crisis of the 1760s and early 1770s on Native peoples in the Northern colonies, Southern colonies, and Ohio Valley respectively. The second section focuses on the effects of the Revolutionary War itself on these three regions during the years of ongoing conflict, and the final section concentrates on the postwar years.


  • Adds the Native American perspective to the reader's understanding of the American Revolution, a critical aspect of this period in history that is rarely covered
  • Supplies a synthesis of the best current and past work on the topic of Native Americans in the American Revolution that will be accessible to general readers as well as undergraduate and graduate-level students
  • Shows how the struggle over the definition and utilization of Native American identity—an issue that was initiated with the American Revolution—is still ongoing for American Indians
Author Info

Ethan A. Schmidt, PhD, is assistant professor of history at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS, and instructed previously at Texas Tech University. His published works include The Divided Dominion: Social Conflict and Indian Hatred in Early Virginia as well as articles in Atlantic Studies, American Indian Quarterly, and Historical Journal of Massachusetts. He holds a doctorate in early American history and Native American history from the University of Kansas.



"Summing Up: Recommended. General readers."Choice


"Ethan Schmidt's Native Americans in the American Revolution: How the War Divided, Devastated, and Transformed the Early American Indian World, is a magisterial accomplishment that provides a much needed synthesis of Native people's involvement in the American Revolution. Previous studies, while offering important insights into Native American involvement in the Revolutionary period, tended to focus exclusively on individual tribal experiences and presented Native peoples' participation as purely reactionary to European colonial activities. Schmidt focuses with laser-like precision on how deeply involved diverse Native American tribal nations were in shaping the events prior to the American Revolution, how thoroughly engaged they were during it, and how they strove in novel ways to maintain control over their destinies in the aftermath of the newly created United States." —Brady DeSanti, Assistant Professor of Religious and Native American Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha

"Anyone interested in the monumental impact that the Revolution had on Native Americans must start with Schmidt's eloquent and informative synthesis . . . a much needed and excellent contribution that expands our understanding of the American Republic's founding."—Paul Kelton, Associate Professor of History, University of Kansas

"It has been wisely noted that the story of colonial/early America is a counterfactual construct absent key players too often missing in the narrative: Native Americans. Ethan Schmidt fills that gap with his new book, one that decidedly (and refreshingly) includes the drama's Native American participants who affected (and were affected by) the Revolution's challenges and opportunities—and he does so with a stylistic flair informed by a familiarity with the subject that is notable for both its breadth and depth."—Ron McCoy, Professor of History, Oklahoma State University

"Ethan Schmidt's Native Americans in the American Revolution will become notable as a richly rewarding, comprehensive account that knits together a massive amount of evidence and commentary on many Native peoples' roles in these events. This work also is lucidly written and valuable for its scope (beginning with events in the 1750s) as well as its empathy for Native points of view, which often portray the revolution as a setback, not a victory. This book is at its best with original sources that illustrate the brutality of the war, as well as the betrayal of Native American allies by both sides once their military usefulness had ended and the rush of immigration exploded."—Bruce E. Johansen, Jacob J. Isaacson University Research Professor, School of Communication and Native American Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha

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