• Britain vs America:

This conflict is what brings the events of the story into being. If the United States hadn’t been at war with Britain, the British would not have encouraged the Native Americans to rebel, meaning there would later be no canoe fight.

  • White Americans vs Native Americans

This is, on the surface level, the main conflict. Both the white Americans and the Native Americans consider the area around the Alabama River their own and are willing to fight for it. This leads to the canoe fight the story is named after, which is won by the white Americans. It is implied that the white Americans continue to come out on top in these conflicts, as by the end of the story the remnants of the Choctaws live around Samuel Dale’s property and live off his crops.

  • Samuel Dale vs Society

Dale is at odds with both of the major societies that live along the Alabama River. Although he is a white American he has spent a good deal of time with the nearby Native Americans and has adopted many of their ways of life. Because of this he never fully fits in with white society. Still, he is unable to fit in with the Native Americans because he is primarily loyal to his fellow white Americans. Despite the fact that he has more in common with the former, when the time comes to fight he sides with the latter. Even so, he is willing to spare a former friend in the fight. Upon his death he is described as being very similar to the Native Americans and yet as having ‘Saxon’ traits as well.

It appears that in later life Dale gives into his Native American sympathies. He allows the remaining Choctaws to live off his crops and speaks highly of them in conversation. He also becomes friends with the leader of the Native Americans he fought against, even taking the role of best man at said leader’s wedding.

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