Throughout the Federal period, many U.S. citizens ignored treaties and settled on lands inhabited by Native nations. These invasions frequently caused wars.
The lands around the Wabash River in the Ohio Valley were a hotbed of conflict in the 1780s and 1790s. The United States claimed the area as part of the Northwest Territory. But the Indigenous communities who already lived there* opposed U.S. rule and the arrival of U.S. settlers. They worked together in an unprecedented alliance to fight for their lands. By 1792 the U.S. government was willing to make a new peace treaty.
* Mascouten, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Kaskaskia, Piankeshaw, Peoria, Wea, and Miami nations united with one another and with neighboring peoples to resist U.S. rule of the Wabash River area and throughout the Ohio Valley.
In 1792, the U.S. government invited the united tribes of the Wabash River area to make a new treaty. Unlike their American counterparts, these allied tribes included women in major decisions about their communities. Hundreds of women attended the treaty negotiations. One woman participated directly in the negotiations as a representative for the Wea nation. The Native negotiators also took frequent breaks to discuss the proceedings with all of the gathered women. These excerpts from the journal of U.S. negotiator Rufus Putnam recount two times the Wea leader spoke directly to negotiators.