The Indian Nations involved in the French and Indian War




map of Indian tribes in eastern North America

 For a larger image click here .



The French and English were battling one another over Indian land. Despite this, the Indians did not present a united front to the European colonists.


Broadly speaking, the Indians were divided into two major groups: the Algonquin- speaking tribes supported by the French and the Iroquois supported by the English. They were divided into warring tribes that spoke a large variety of languages. In the midst of the Algonquin- speaking tribes in northeastern North America lived an island of Iroquois in what is now New York State and on either side of Lake Erie .


For reasons lost in antiquity, the Algonquin- speaking tribes and the Iroquois were hostile to each other in the 1600s . During the brutal Beaver Wars (1638-84) the Iroquois Confederation (Mohawk,Onedia,Onondaga,Cayuga and Seneca)

fought against the Hurons,Ottowas,Neutrals,Miamis,Mohicans,

Susquehanocks,Delawares,Eries and Algonquian-speaking tribes .

The Iroquois became the dominant Indian power, but both groups were severely weakened.


Champlain fighting the Iroquois


The French established themselves on the St. Lawrence among the Alogonquins. When the Alogonquins saw firearms for the first time with Champlain ( 1574 - 1634 ) , they asked the French to join them in a raid on their enemy, the Iroquois . Champlain agreed and in 1609, took two soldiers with the Indians to what is now Lake Champlain and won a victory over the Iroquois .


Over time, the French held sway over the Abenakis in Maine, the

Montagnais north of them and  the Micamacs in Nova Scotia. In the west, the Alogonquins of the Great Lakes, the Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Miami, Sauk and Fox . As the English and Dutch moved into the New York Area, they encouraged the enmity of the Iroquois towards the French and their allied tribes . After the Dutch were expelled by the English in 1664, they took over the lucrative trade with the Iroquois for beaver pelts and providing them with arms.


Iroquois warrior


The French were for the most part more respectful of Indian culture and were an important component in the economic life of New France,

with its much lower population than the English colonies.

Intermarriage was more common in New France and were more

forthcoming with gifts . Many raids were organized from Fort

Duquesne with one or two Frenchmen leading a group of Indians.

The first English Commander and Chief, spurned the offered help of Indians. William Pitt, who became in charge of colonial affairs in America sought Indian allies by promising a boundary line to restrict English settlement on their lands.




The Cherokees in the south were a huge tribe generally friendly

to the English until 1758, when a brutal war started that took

two years to put down. The great Creek nation that extended

from the Georgia coast to central Alabama, were friendly with the

English, who helped them fight tribes in Spanish Florida .

Within a few days of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the Ottowa, led by Chief Pontiac, with the Iroquois, Shawnee and Delaware began a series of attacks of the newly won western outposts of the English.


Robert Rogers and Pontiac smoke a peace pipe in 1760. Within three years Pontiac would lead a great Indian uprising against the British.


French Allied Indians



Algonquian speaking tribe that lived in present day New England, Quebec, and the Maritimes ( A region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island ),were extremely reliable French allies. Who were threatened by English expansion into their land.Very loyal to the French missionaries among them, such as Father Rale .


Ohio Indians


New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania ,Delaware Valley, the north shore of Delaware, and southern New York, especially the Hudson Valley and New York Harbor. traditional Lenape enemies, the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannock. Dispossessed by a great deal of their lands through English fraud and were French allies.



Algonquian-speaking tribe Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania



Iroquois who migrated to the Ohio country


The Far Indians

Ojibwas (Chippewa)

Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and Minnesota



Potawatomis southwestern Michigan

collectively known as the 'Three Fires' connected to the French through trade and intermarriage

Brought in from the west for raiding and to threaten eastern Indians



New England in the United States ,Maritime Provinces of Canada





Caughnawagas Mohawks

Starting in 1669, French missionaries convinced some Mohawks to relocate to two reservations near Montreal. These Mohawks became known as Caughnawagas and they became allies of the French


English Allied Indians


The Iroquois Confederation

( Mohawk,Onedia,Onondaga,Cayuga and Seneca) Most of the Iroquois, with the exception of the Mohawks, tried to remain neutral in the conflict. The Mohawks, the easternmost of the Iroquois tribes, were in closer contact with the English and William Johnson.


Catawba  Cherokee


The Cherokee and English had been allies in the Tuscarora War

1711-15. and were allies at the start of the French and Indian War.700 Cherokee and Cataba warriors joined the attack on Fort Duquense, many deserted before the battle

Cherokee uprising in 1758, English Fort Loudon garrison killed by Cherokee.


Indian chief presents a wampum to an English commander . Wampum were tiny shells and beads woven into belts and served as money or as a contract between two parties . The Iroquois also used them for memory aids to record tribal history . Before treaty talks, wampum were exchanged between Europeans and Indians as a sign of sincerity . The English also used a treaty system with Indian tribes called a Covenant Chain. The Five Iroquois Nations joined in 1677.


In 1683, Colonel Thomas Dongan became governor of New York, who asserted that the St Lawrence was New York's northern boundary. The Iroquois acknowledge themselves under English jurisdiction in exchange for aid against their enemies . Dongan then informed the French Governor Denonville, that he must cease provoking  the Iroquois as they were now British subjects . The French denied this, along with the boundary claim and led French troops and Indian allies against the Senecas in 1687 . In reprisal, the Iroquois laid siege to Montreal the next year, but withdrew when supplies ran out .






Causes of the

French and Indian War


Washington at

Fort Le Boeuf