Native Americans are known for using smoke signals to communicate messages over long distances.

Were they able to use these to send (encoded) messages to coordinate battle against European-Americans?

Did European-Americans adopt smoke signals to communicate over long distances?

  • 2
  • I suspect that smoke signals were used only by plains nations, and Europeans never fought the plains nations. Smoke signals are going to be of limited value in East Coast forests. Please consult the Wikipedia entry and revise your question to indicate why that is not sufficient.
    – MCW
    Sep 5, 2017 at 16:00
  • I didn't want to use "Native Americans" and "Americans" in the same sentence (too many Americans) or cause consternation by using "Whites" and "Indians." Sep 5, 2017 at 16:24
  • @Clint Eastwood: Then don't use the term "Native American", which a lot of American Indians dislike.
    – jamesqf
    Sep 5, 2017 at 17:38
  • @jamesqf: There is no consensus on naming. Let's assume best intentions.
    – DevSolar
    Sep 6, 2017 at 8:56

1 Answer 1


Lewis and Clark's journals cite several occasions when they adopted the Native American method of setting the plains on fire to communicate the presence of their party or their desire to meet with local tribes. Wikipedia

  • I always imagined small fires with more than one bit of information, but setting a big fire is a pretty clear "I am here" that probably will attract attention.
    – user22111
    Sep 5, 2017 at 20:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.