Indians and Europeans inhabited a world of villages rather than of empires and they thought locally rather than globally. The rhythms and rituals of planting and harvesting meant more to most people than did timetables for the transfer of territory. That is not to suggest they lived in idyllic rural communities unaware of their place in a larger, world, only that communities were small by modern standards and paid most attention to the things that most immediately affected them. The regions people inhabited set them apart from and sometimes set them in tension with other regions, but their orbits overlapped and the lines between them proved porous and malleable. Coastal towns connected to the backcountry as well as to the Atlantic and Eastern elites experienced tensions with backcountry settlers as well as with other foreign cities. Backcountry communities connected to Indian country as well as to longer-settled regions further east and sometimes were in context, with both.
Slavery was not as rife in Indian communities before the Civil War for the simple reason that work was usually done by Indians themselves. There were also instances where slaves joined Indian communities, and this raised the spectre of united racial resistance to white domination. Pontiac’s War was a typical example where several thousand black slaves joined the Indian cause, and this resulted in great fears among the white slave owning community. However although there were a few sporadic events where slaves and Indians came together, this was over by 1763, an important event in the making of America.
Compare and contrast the southeast and southwest borderlands on one of the following criteria: gender roles, relationship between Indians and whites, or the distribution of power. How were they the same? How and why were they different?
Relationships with whites varied in several areas but these were generally characterised as being rather hostile. In many areas, the fact that one distant king rather than another claimed their homelands made little difference to the Indian nations who actually occupied and controlled the territory. Osages, Caddos and Comanches cared about access to European guns, not allegiance to European monarchs. The Osages had moved west as part of a migration that also carried Quapaws, Poncas, Omahas, Otos and Kansas from the Ohio Valley to new homes beyond the Mississippi.
They took up residence on the prairies between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers. They inhabited large villages in the spring and fall, dispersed to hunt buffalo on the plains in the summer, and wintered near the forests. They could raise more than a thousand warriors, had ample supplies of horses and guns, and earned a fierce reputation among Europeans and other Indians alike. They had met French traders at the end of the seventeenth century, and were accustomed to dealing with Europeans on their own terms and from a position of strength. They exploited their geographical, economic and numerical advantages at the expense of other Indian peoples, operated as middlemen funnelling guns to some peoples, tried to keep guns out of the hands of their enemies, and preserved their independence and their dominance in a world of shifting international contests and territorial boundaries.
The distribution of power was a sensitive issue with Indians, and this also affected their relationship with whites. However it was only the more warlike Indians such as the Apaches and the Comanches who were based in the Southwest that caused trouble and eventually, ended up embroiled in a series of wars with the new white settlers with the other nations capitulating rather peacefully.
Carter (III), Samuel (1976). Cherokee Sunset: A Nation Betrayed : A Narrative of Travail and Triumph, Persecution and Exile. New York: Doubleday, p. 232.
William G. McLoughlin (1981). "Experiment in Cherokee Citizenship, 1817-1829" (PDF). American Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Spring, 1981), pp. 3-25. Retrieved 2012-06-22.