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Interpreting the Evidence

War Office Broadside, Relations with the Six Natio

  • 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:


  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load War Office Broadside, Relations with the Six Nations, September 12 and 14, 1785 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Broadside from the War Office suggesting the appointment of an intermediary between Congress and the Six Nations
New York State Library, NYSL_StarBroadside_2577

Document Description
Broadside from War Office regarding relations with the Six Nations, September 12 and 14, 1785.

What was the Secretary of War asking?

Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Students could create another broadside depicting both sides trying to coax the Native Americans to side with them. They could also create a broadside that depicts another event of the American Revolution.

Historical Context
Prior to the American Revolution, Great Britain had adopted a policy of minimal interference with Native Americans. 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 groups that did side with the Americans.

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

Check for Understanding
Students should be able to answer the essential question using evidence from the document.