Land, Trade, and Treaties
Frontier diplomacy involved a lot of talk. Indians and colonists met in formal council to discuss issues of concern, make peace, prevent war, and renew friendships. Very often the talks were conducted on equal terms, with Europeans following much of the protocol of Indian diplomacy. In general, however, discussion focused on the two things Europeans wanted most from Indian people: their land and their trade. The issue of land was never far from the surface in negotiations. Europeans used a broad repertoire of devices to obtain land, one of which was to encourage Indians to run up large debts in trade. The tribe’s accumulated bill then could be settled only by the cession of territory. Indian leaders sometimes used land sales as a strategy for trying to keep colonists at bay, hoping that this time their land hunger would be satisfied, but the pressure on Indian lands was unrelenting, a constant source of friction.
KeywordsWhite People Indian People Indian Leader American Philosophical Society Indian Land
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