This article explores and compares how two southeastern Native American societies responded to the challenge of defending their home territories against European incursions in the eighteenth century. As the Tuscaroras and the Cherokees learned more about their European opponents, they progressively adapted their defensive techniques. The Tuscaroras relied on increasingly elaborate fortifications, at first successfully, but ultimately leading to a disastrous defeat. The Cherokees, observers of the Tuscarora defeat, continued to use fortifications through the middle of the eighteenth century. As the European threat drew closer to their mountain homeland, however, they shifted to a strategy of dispersal, ambush, and attacks on supply trains.