Restoring the Chain of Friendship


Restoring the Chain of Friendship

British Policy and the Indians of the Great Lakes, 1783-1815

Timothy D. Willig

390 pages
10 photographs, 2 maps, index


May 2008


$50.00 Add to Cart

September 2014


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

During the American Revolution the British enjoyed a unified alliance with their Native allies in the Great Lakes region of North America. By the War of 1812, however, that “chain of friendship” had devolved into smaller, more local alliances. To understand how and why this pivotal shift occurred, Restoring the Chain of Friendship examines British and Native relations in the Great Lakes region between the end of the American Revolution and the end of the War of 1812.
Timothy D. Willig traces the developments in British-Native interaction and diplomacy in three regions: those served by the agencies of Fort St. Joseph, Fort Amherstburg, and Fort George. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Native peoples in each area developed unique relationships with the British. Relations in these regions were affected by such factors as the local success of the fur trade, Native relations with the United States, geography, the influence of British-Indian agents, intertribal relations, Native acculturation or cultural revitalization, and constitutional issues of Native sovereignty and legal statuses. Assessing the wide variety of factors that influenced relations in each of these areas, Willig determines that it was nearly impossible for Britain to establish a single Indian policy for its North American borderlands, and it was thus forced to adapt to conditions and circumstances particular to each region.

Author Bio

Timothy D. Willig is an assistant professor of history and coordinator of the Native American Studies Program at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York.


"Restoring the Chain of Friendship does an admirable job of exploring the complications of British policy, and it does an even greater service for the field by explaining how native opinions and actions contributed to those complications."—John P. Bowes, Journal of American History

"Timothy D. Willig has made a major contribution to the field. . . . With the bicentennial of the War of 1812 not far off, it will be of special interest to those seeking to make sense of the varied native responses to that enigmatic conflict."—Sandy Antal, Northwest Ohio History

"Willig's analyses of Indian and British relations "on the ground" are persuasively connected to a history of policy development and implementation because he is able to incorporate a great deal of Native perspective."—Kiara M. Vigil, Michigan Historical Review

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 

List of Maps


Introduction: The Chain of Friendship in the Colonial Past

1. The Quest for a Just Peace, 1783-95

2. A New Diplomacy at Amherstburg, 1796-1803

3. British-Indian Relations in the North, 1796-1802

4. A New Society on the Grand River, 1784-180

5. John Norton and the Continuing Struggle at the Grand River, 1801-12

6. Restoring the Chain of Friendship in the West and in the North, 1801-12

Epilogue: Reassessing the Chain of Friendship, 1812 and Beyond




Also of Interest