Image taken from page 191 of "The Origin of the North American Indians; with a faithful description of their manners, etc." by John MacIntosh, 1857. An Indian chief is the leader of a group of Native Americans. Among the North American Indians a chief may be generally defined as a political officer whose distinctive functions are to execute the ascertained will of a definite group of persons united by the possession of a common territory or range and of certain exclusive rights, immunities, and obligations, and to conserve their customs, traditions, and religion. He exercises legislative and executive powers delegated to him in accordance with custom for the conservation and promotion of the common weal. There were in certain communities, as the Iroquois and Creeks, civil chiefs and sub-chiefs, chosen for personal merit, and permanent and temporary war chiefs. These several grades of chiefs hear distinctive titles, indicative of their diverse jurisdiction.