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Interpreting the Evidence

Volckert P. Douw to General Schuyler about Indians

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Revolution and New Nation (1754 - 1820s)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School

  • Topics:

    American Revolution
    Indigenous Peoples of North America

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Volckert P. Douw to General Schuyler about Indians from Canada, April 15, 1776 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Letter. Volkert P. Dowd to Philip Schuyler
New York State Library, NYSL_SC19811_B1_001

Document Description
Letter from Volckert P. Douw to General Schuyler about James Deane and Indian representatives from the seven tribes from Canada, April 15, 1776.

Historical Context
Prior to the American Revolution, Great Britain had adopted a policy of minimal interference with Native American tribes. After the French and Indian War, the British imposed the Proclamation Line of 1763 on the American colonists. This line restricted the colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains, thus minimizing conflicts with Native American groups. Many Native American groups sided with the British during the American Revolution because colonists had repeatedly attempted to settle in Native American territory. The British appeared to be the party more willing to restrict westward movement and preserve the territory of the Native Americans. However, there were some tribes that did side with the Americans.

Compelling Question
Why were some Native American tribes willing to help the Americans during the Revolutionary War?