As a strategy to protect their lands and secure supplies, Native Americans entered into limited alliances with either the British or the Americans. In general,

Indians in the American Revolution did not act autonomously, but neither did they follow orders they deemed contrary to their interests. Native Americans dispensed assistance of various kinds in careful doses according to their particular situation. With regard to the Iroquois during the colonial period, historian Jon Parmenter has argued that the Indians’ participation as allies in colonial wars should not be understood as evidence of their subordination, but rather as one of their many creative adaptations to the colonial environment. Alliance yielded supplies, intelligence, an outlet for warriors’ military ambitions, leverage to affect the war’s prosecution, a burnished reputation for military prowess and captives for ritual use or population augmentation. Indians approached the American Revolution sensing its possibilities in these terms, and their participation reflected these aims, which reinforced their larger goal of independence.5