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The Western Confederacy, or Western Indian Confederacy, was a loose confederacy of Native Americans in the Great Lakes region of the United States following the American Revolutionary War. The confederacy was also sometimes known as the Miami Confederacy, as many federal officials at the time overestimated the influence and numerical strength of the Miami tribe within the confederation. The confederacy, which had its roots in pan-tribal movements dating to the 1740s, came together in an attempt to resist the expansion of the United States, and the encroachment of American settlers, into the Northwest Territory after Great Britain ceded the region to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. The resistance resulted in the Northwest Indian War (1785–1795), which ended with an American military victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. (Though it was rekindled by Tenskwatawa, known as The Prophet, and his brother Tecumseh.)
Although many of the native peoples had fought in the Revolutionary War as British allies, Great Britain made no mention of their allies in the Treaty of Paris. According to Joseph Brant, a Mohawk chief who was one of the early architects of the confederacy, the British had "sold the Indians to Congress." The confederacy first came together in 1786 at a conference at the Wyandot town of Upper Sandusky, with the intention of forming a common front in dealing with the Americans. After 1792, the confederacy received support from John Graves Simcoe, the British lieutenant governor of Upper Canada.
Members of many different tribes were involved in the Western Confederacy. However, because most tribes were not centralized political units at the time, involvement in the confederacy was usually on a village rather than a tribal basis. The confederacy consisted of members of the following tribes:
- Lenape (Also known as the Delaware)
- Council of Three Fires (Potawatomi, Odawa, and Ojibwe)
- Wabash Confederacy (Wea, Piankashaw, and others)
- Sauk and Meskwaki
- Six Nations (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Tuscarora, and smaller groups like the Tutelo and Nanticoke)
- Seven Nations of Canada (Mohawk, Algonquin, Nipissing, Abenaki, and Wendat)
- Illini Confederacy (Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Peoria, and others)
- Mingo (Trans-Appalachian Cayuga and Seneca splinter groups)
The Confederacy was also periodically supported by communities and warriors from west of the Mississippi River and south of the Ohio River, including the Dakota, Chickamauga Cherokee, and Upper Creek.
- Allen, Robert S. His Majesty's Indian Allies: British Indian Policy in the Defense of Canada. Toronto: Dundurn, 1992. ISBN 1-55002-184-2.
- Dowd, Gregory Evans. A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745–1815. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8018-4609-9.
- Sugden, John. Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8032-4288-3.
- Sword, Wiley. President Washington's Indian War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1790-1795. Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985. ISBN 0-8061-1864-4 (hardcover); ISBN 0-8061-2488-1 (paperback).
- Tanner, Helen Hornbeck, ed. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987. ISBN 0-8061-2056-8.
- Tanner, Helen Hornbeck. "The Glaize in 1792: A Composite Indian Community." Ethnohistory 25, no. 1 (Winter 1978), pp. 15–39. Also available online from JSTOR (account required)
- White, Richard. The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815. Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-521-42460-7.