Skip Navigation

AIH-16: Effect of Revolutionary War on American Indians

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


Students will understand how the American Indian cultures changed as a result of the Revolutionary War.



Background for Teachers

This is the last of three lessons in the Eighth Grade American Indian History Lesson Plan Unit:

COMMENT by Bryon L. Borup, Ph.D.

It has been my observation that the French came to trade with the American Indian and quite often intermarried. This would have produced an amalgamated and blended society, the land being settled by the offspring of both people.

The Spanish came to get Gold not land, and, although often by force, to convert American Indians to Christianity. As is observable in Central American, those cultures would have blended and settled as well. Not totally without problems, and of course modern greed, observable by many recent attempts at the genocide of the Mayans by several Central American governments still blended society.

Since those of British descent actually colonized the United States , it is their apparent opinion that the American Indian was simply in the way of their progress and land accumulation, and of no value to keep as people, blend with, or learn from. Therefore, the American Indians on the east coast were scattered, confined and almost entirely destroyed.

Had the French won the French and Indian war, or the Spanish settled most of the land area of North America, the fate of the American Indian would probably have been much different.

Use this paragraph as a basis for discussion with the students. Have them express their opinion on possible different scenarios if the French had won the war, or the Spanish had claimed and maintained their claim to the explored lands.

Instructional Procedures

Essential Question 1: Why did some of the Iroquois Confederation of Tribes fight on the side of the Americans?

Give students in groups of six the article from the site below and have them read it aloud in their group. Ask them to list several reasons, from their reading, that some Iroquois might side with the colonists in the Revolutionary War and why most would side with the British.

Essential Question 2: How was territories West of the Appalachians affected by the fact that Americans won the war?

Teacher should lecture on history of Ohio Valley before and immediately after the arrival of Colonists to the area. Show maps and discuss events and their consequences. There was an extensive development of large villages and tribes living in the area who farmed the land and traded with peoples from the central America region.

  • The Iroquois of the Northeast
  • The First Americans
  • Hazen-Hammond, Susan. Timelines of Native American History: Through the Centuries with Mother Earth and Father Sky. T/S

Essential Question 3: How would life be different for American Indians if the French or Spanish had taken control of North America ?

Examine French-Indian, Spanish-Indian, and Colonist-Indian relationships through lectures and discussions.


  • Unrau, William. Indians of Kansas : The Euro-American Invasion and Conquest of Indian Kansas , (1995).
  • Hurtado, Albert L. & Iverson, Peter. Major Problems in American Indian History, (1994).
  • Lewis, David R. Neither Wolf Nor Dog: American Indians, Environment and Agrarian Change, (1994).

Essential Question 4: How did the American Indian tribes view the Louisiana Purchase as it affected them?

Teacher will direct students to texts and websites with information on the Louisiana Purchase

Assessment Plan

Essential Question 1: Assessment
Class discussion reflecting what the reading and group discussions concluded. Verbal sharing of each list with the other groups in the class. Teacher monitors discussion and participation.

Essential Question 2: Assessment
Tribal living timeline (how was each tribe or area in the Ohio Valley affected by the Colonists’ victory?)

Essential Question 3: Assessment
Essay comparative test.

Essential Question 4: Assessment
The students will work in groups of five or as teacher designated and have presentations to the class on findings and opinions.


Utah State Office of Education
Social Studies Enhancement Committee
American Indian History

Lesson Plan Writers:

  • Loya Arrum - Ute
  • Don Mose - Navajo
  • Irene Silentman - Navajo Nation
  • Brenda Francis
  • Janice Schroeder - Lummbee
  • Lee Borup
  • Gary Tom - Paiute, Tribal Council (Kaibab Band)
  • Dolores M. Riley, Consultant
Under the Direction of the Indian Education Specialist, Shirlee Silversmith. Special thanks to Dolores Riley.

Created: 01/31/2005
Updated: 02/04/2018