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Tecumseh

A depiction of Tecumseh from c. 1868
Born March 1768
On the Scioto river, near Chillicothe Ohio
Died October 5, 1813 (aged 45)
Moravian of the Thames
(near modern Chatham-Kent, Ontario)
Nationality Shawnee
Other names Tecumtha, Tekamthi
Known for War of 1812
Parents Pucksinwah, Methoataske

Tecumseh (March 1768 – October 5, 1813), also known as Tecumtha or Tekamthi, was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy that opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812. He grew up in the Ohio country during the American Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War where he was constantly exposed to warfare.[1]

His brother Tenskwatawa was a religious leader who advocated a return to the ancestral lifestyle of the tribes. A large following and a confederacy grew around his teachings. The religious doctrine led to strife with settlers on the frontier, causing the group to move farther into the northwest and settle Prophetstown, Indiana in 1808. Tecumseh took an active role in confronting Governor William Henry Harrison to demand land purchase treaties be rescinded. He began an attempt to expand the confederacy into the southern United States, but while he was away traveling, Tenskwatawa was defeated in the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. [2] . During the War of 1812, Tecumseh and his confederacy allied with the British in Canada and helped in the capture of Fort Detroit. The Americans, led by Harrison, launched a counter assault and invaded Canada, killing Tecumseh in the Battle of the Thames. Tecumseh has subsequently become a folk legend. He is remembered as a hero by many Canadians for his defense of the country.

Contents

Tecumseh's War

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Rising tensions

In September 1809, William Henry Harrison, governor of the newly formed Indiana Territory, negotiated the Treaty of Fort Wayne in which a delegation of Indians ceded 3 million acres (12,000 km²) of Native American lands to the United States. The treaty negotiations were questionable as they were unauthorized by the President and involved what some historians compared to bribery, offering large subsidies to the tribes and their chiefs, and the liberal distribution of liquor before the negotiations.[3]

Tecumseh's opposition to the treaty marked his emergence as a prominent leader. Although Tecumseh and the Shawnees had no claim on the land sold, he was alarmed by the massive sale as many of the followers in Prophetstown were Piankeshaw, Kickapoo, and Wea, who were the primary inhabitants of the land. Tecumseh revived an idea advocated in previous years by the Shawnee leader Blue Jacket and the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant, which stated that Indian land was owned in common by all t>Owen, p. 203</ref>

Not ready to confront the United States directly, Tecumseh's primary adversaries were initially the Indian leaders who had signed the treaty. An impressive orator, Tecumseh began to travel widely, urging warriors to abandon accommodationist chiefs and to join him in resistance of the treaty.[4] Tecumseh insisted that the Fort Wayne treaty was illegal; he asked Harrison to nullify it, and warned that Americans should not attempt to settle on the lands sold in the treaty. Tecumseh is quoted as saying, "No tribe has the right to sell [land], even to each other, much less to strangers.... Sell a country!? Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn't the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?" And, "....the only way to stop this evil [loss of land] is for the red man to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was first, and should be now, for it was never divided."[5]:

Confrontation

At Vincennes in 1810, Tecumseh loses his temper when William Henry Harrison refuses to rescind the Treaty of Fort Wayne.

In August 1810 Tecumseh led four hundred armed warriors from Prophetstown to confront Harrison at his Vincennes home, Grouseland. Their appearance startled the townspeople, and the situation quickly became dangerous when Harrison rejected Tecumseh's demand and argued that individual tribes could have relations with the United States, and that Tecumseh's interference was unwelcome by the tribes of the area. Tecumseh launched an impassioned rebuttal against Harrison.[6]

(Governor William Harrison), you have the liberty to return to your own country ... you wish to prevent the Indians from doing as we wish them, to unite and let them consider their lands as common property of the whole ... You never see an Indian endeavor to make the white people do this ...[7]

Tecumseh began inciting the warriors to kill Harrison, who responded by pulling his sword. The small garrison defending the town quickly moved to protect Harrison. Pottowatomie Chief Winnemac arose and countered Tecumseh's arguments to the group, and urged the warriors to leave in peace. As they left, Tecumseh informed Harrison that unless he rescinded the treaty, he would seek an alliance with the British.[8]

A comet appeared in March 1811. The Shawnee leader Tecumseh, whose name meant "shooting star", told the Creeks that the comet signaled his coming. Tecumseh's confederacy and allies took it as an omen of good luck. McKenney reported that Tecumseh claimed he would prove that the Great Spirit had sent him to the Creeks by giving the tribes a "sign."

In 1811, Tecumseh again met with Harrison at his home after being summoned following the murder of settlers on the frontier. Tecumseh told Harrison that the Shawnee and their Native American brothers wanted to remain at peace with the United States but these differences had to be resolved. The meeting was likely a ploy to buy time while he built a stronger confederacy, and the meeting convinced Harrison that hostilities were imminent. Following the meeting Tecumseh traveled south, on a mission to recruit allies among the Five Civilized Tribes. Most of the southern nations rejected his appeals, but a faction among the Creeks, who came to be known as the Red Sticks, answered his call to arms, leading to the Creek War.[8]

Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mochican, the Pocanet, and other powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and oppression of the white man, as snow before the summer sun ... Sleep not longer, O Choctaws and Chickasaws ... Will not the bones of our dead be plowed up, and their graves turned into plowed fields?[9]

Tippecanoe

While Tecumseh was in the South, Governor Harrison marched up the Wabash River from Vincennes with more than 1,000 men, on a preemptive expedition to intimidate the Prophet and his followers and to force them to make peace. On November 6, 1811, Harrison's army arrived outside Prophetstown. The Prophet sent a messenger to meet with Harrison and requested a meeting be held the next day to negotiate. Harrison encamped his army on a nearby hill, and during the early dawn hours of November 7, the confederacy launched a sneak attack on his camp. In the Battle of Tippecanoe, Harrison's men held their ground, and the Indians withdrew from the village after the battle. The victorious Americans burned the town and returned to Vincennes.[10]

The New Madrid Earthquake was interpreted by the Muscogee as a sign to support the Shawnee's resistance.

The Battle of Tippecanoe was a severe blow for Tenskwatawa, who lost both prestige and the confidence of his brother. Although it was a significant setback, Tecumseh began to secretly rebuild his alliance upon his return. The Americans soon after went to war with the British in the War of 1812, and Tecumseh's War became a part of that struggle.[10]

On December 11, 1811, the New Madrid Earthquake shook the South and the Midwest. While the interpretation of this event varied from tribe to tribe, one consensus was universally accepted: the powerful earthquake had to have meant something. For many tribes it meant that the Tecumseh and the Prophet must be supported.[11]

War of 1812

Detroit frontier

Tecumseh rallied his confederacy and led his forces to join the British army invading the northwest from Canada. Tecumseh joined British Major-General Sir Isaac Brock in the siege of Detroit, and forced its surrender in August 1812. As Brock advanced to a point just out of range of Detroit's guns, Tecumseh had his approximately four hundred warriors parade from a nearby wood and circle around to repeat the maneuver, making it appear that there were many more than was actually the case. The fort commander, Brigadier General William Hull, surrendered in fear of a massacre should he refuse. The victory was of a great strategic value to the invaders.[12]

This victory was reversed a little over a year later, as Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's victory on Lake Erie, late in the summer of 1813, cut British supply lines and forced them to withdraw. The British burned all public buildings in Detroit and retreated into Upper Canada along the Thames Valley. Tecumseh and his men followed fighting rearguard actions to slow the US advance.

Battle of the Thames

Death of Tecumseh

The next British commander, Major-General Henry Procter, did not have the same working relationship with Tecumseh as his predecessor and the two disagreed over tactics. Procter favored withdrawing into Canada and avoiding battle while the Americans suffered from the winter. Tecumseh was more eager to launch a decisive action to defeat the American army and allow his men to retake their homes in the northwest.[13] Procter failed to appear at Chatham, Ontario, though he had promised Tecumseh that he would make a stand against the Americans there. Tecumseh moved his men to meet Proctor again and informed him that he would withdraw no farther, and if the British wanted his continued help then an action needed to be fought. Harrison crossed into Upper Canada and on October 5, 1813, won a victory over the British and Native Americans at the Battle of the Thames near Moraviantown. Tecumseh was killed, and shortly after the battle, the tribes of his confederacy surrendered to Harrison at Detroit.[14] In 1836 and 1837, in part because of reports that it was he who had killed Tecumseh, Richard Mentor Johnson was elected vice-president of the United States, to serve with Martin Van Buren.

Legacy

Memorials

Tecumseh commemorative Shawnee Nation dollar.

The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has Tecumseh Court, which is located outside Bancroft Hall's front entrance, and features a bust of Tecumseh. The bust is often decorated to celebrate special days. The bust was actually originally meant to represent Tamanend, an Indian chief from the 17th century who was known as a lover of peace and friendship, but the Academy's midshipmen preferred the more warlike Tecumseh, and the new name stuck. [15] The US Navy named four ships USS Tecumseh, the first one as early as 1863. The Canadian naval reserve unit HMCS Tecumseh is based in Calgary, Alberta. Tecumseh is honored in Canada as a hero and military commander who played a major role in Canada's successful repulsion of an American invasion in the War of 1812, which, among other things, eventually led to Canada's nationhood in 1867 with the British North America Act. Among the tributes, Tecumseh is ranked 37th in The Greatest Canadian list. An 1848 drawing of Tecumseh was based on a sketch done from life in 1808. Benson Lossing altered the original by putting Tecumseh in a British uniform, under the mistaken (but widespread) belief that Tecumseh had been a British general. This depiction is unusual in that it includes a nose ring, popular among the Shawnee at the time, but typically omitted in idealized depictions. He is also honored by a massive portrait which hangs in the Royal Canadian Military Institute. The unveiling of the work, commissioned under the patronage of Kathryn Langley Hope and Trisha Langley, took place at the Toronto-based RCMI on October 29, 2008.[citation needed] A number of towns have been named in honor of Tecumseh, including those in the states of Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and the province of Ontario, as well as the town and township of New Tecumseth, Ontario, and Mount Tecumseh in New Hampshire. Union Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman, was given the name Tecumseh because "my father . . . had caught a fancy for the great chief of the Shawnees."[16] Evolutionary biologist and cognitive scientist W. Tecumseh Fitch was named after the general, not after Tecumseh. Another Civil War general, Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana, also bore the name of the Shawnee leader.

Tecumseh in fiction

  • Fritz Steuben's Tecumseh anthology is a work of fiction, consisting of 8 volumes covering Tecumseh's life, from his youth (Tecumseh - The Flying Arrow, 1930) to his death (Tecumseh - Tecumseh's Death, 1939).
  • Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa are depicted in the 1952 film Brave Warrior. Tecumseh is played by Jay Silverheels.
  • Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa appear as primary characters in Allan W. Eckert's The Frontiersmen: A Narrative, originally published in 1967.
  • Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa also appear as primary characters in Red Prophet, the second book in The Tales of Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card. The series follows an alternative timeline in the United States, the second book covering the period from early 1805 until shortly after the War of 1812. The book involves the suspected love between Tecumseh and A white pioneer girl Rebecca Galloway. In the story they are married and she is called Becca.
  • Panther in the Sky is a novel written by Bloomington, Indiana author James Alexander Thom. The TNT film Tecumseh, The Last Warrior is based on the novel.
  • Tecumseh's life is depicted in the outdoor drama Tecumseh!, written by Allan W. Eckert. It is seen by thousands each summer in the 1,800 seat Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre near Chillicothe, Ohio.[17]
  • Tecumseh (played by a Serbian actor Gojko Mitić) appears as primary character in an East-German Red Western Tecumseh (1972).
  • Tecumseh and the Prophet are referred to briefly in Sara Donati's "Wilderness" series of novels: Fire Along the Sky (2004) and Queen of Swords (2006)[citation needed].
  • A statue of Tecumseh was a fixture in the bar (by the entryway) featured in the long-running and highly-rated television comedy series, Cheers. [1]
  • Ann Rinaldi's The Second Bend in the River depicts a fictionalized version of the suspected romance between Tecumseh and Rebecca Galloway, a white pioneer girl.[18]
  • Polish writer Longin Jan Okon has written a trilogy describing Tecumseh's War and War of 1812.
  • Tecumseh was also metioned in the novel Jeremy's War 1812
  • Tecumseh was the name of Rhett Butler's Horse, in the book "Rhett Butler's People", by Donald McCaig.
  • "The Loon Feather" is a novel by Iola Fuller about a fictional daughter of Tecumseh and her life on Mackinaw Island with the Shawnee and the American fur traders. Published in 1940.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Allen, Robert S (2009). "Tecumseh". The Canadian Encyclopedia > Biography > Native Political Leaders. Historica-Dominion. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0007898. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  2. ^ Allen, Robert S (2009). "Tecumseh". The Canadian Encyclopedia > Biography > Native Political Leaders. Historica-Dominion. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0007898. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  3. ^ Treaty with the Delawares, Etc., 1809. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau.
  4. ^ Owen, p. 209
  5. ^ Steinberg, Theodore. Slide Mountain or The Folly of Owning Nature. Chapter 5, "Three-D Deeds: The Rise of Air Rights in New York" University of California Press, 1996.
  6. ^ Langutth, p. 165
  7. ^ Turner III, Frederick. "Poetry and Oratory". The Portable North American Indian Reader. Penguin Book. p. 245–246. ISBN 0-14-015077-3. 
  8. ^ a b Languth, p. 167
  9. ^ Turner III, Frederick. "Poetry and Oratory". The Portable North American Indian Reader. Penguin Book. p. 246–247. ISBN 0-14-015077-3. 
  10. ^ a b Langguth,p. 168
  11. ^ Ehle p. 102–104
  12. ^ Burton, Pierre (1980) The Invasion of Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, pp. 177-182.
  13. ^ Langguth, p. 196
  14. ^ Langguth, p. 206
  15. ^ http://siris-artinventories.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=12618P12436QL.9129&profile=ariall&source=~!siartinventories&view=subscriptionsummary&uri=full=3100001~!10941~!26&ri=2&aspect=Browse&menu=search&ipp=20&spp=20&staffonly=&term=Outdoor+Sculpture+--+Maryland+--+Annapolis&index=OBJEC&uindex=&aspect=Browse&menu=search&ri=2
  16. ^ WTS Memoirs, 2d ed. 11 (Lib. of America 1990)
  17. ^ Tecumseh! Official webpage for the outdoor drama program
  18. ^ *Galloway, William Albert. Old Chillicothe. Xenia, OH: The Buckeye Press, 1934.

Bibliography

Further reading

  • Dowd, Gregory Evans. A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.
  • Drake, Benjamin. Life Of Tecumseh And Of His Brother The Prophet; With A Historical Sketch Of The Shawanoe Indians. (Mount Vernon : Rose Press, 2008).
  • Eckert, Allan. A Sorrow in Our Hearts: The Life of Tecumseh. New York: Bantam Books, 1992.
  • Edmunds, R. David. Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership. Boston: Little Brown, 1984.
  • Gilbert, Bil. God Gave us This Country: Tekamthi and the First American Civil War. New York: Atheneum, 1989.
  • Green, James A., "Tecumseh," in Charles F. Horne, ed., Great Men and Famous Women, vol. 2: Soldiers and Sailors, 308. New York: Selmar Hess, 1894.
  • Pirtle, Alfred. (1900). The Battle of Tippecanoe. Louisville: John P. Morton & Co./ Library Reprints. pp. 158. ISBN 9780722265093. http://books.google.com/books?id=YvA7AAAAMAAJ&pg=PR1&dq=Pirtle,+Alfred.+(1900).+The+Battle+of+Tippecanoe.  as read to the Filson Club.
  • Burr, Samuel Jones. The Life and Times of William Henry Harrison . New York: L. W. Ransom, 1840, pgs. 101 & 102.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

Tecumtha (1768? - 5 October 1813) was a Native American leader, Shawnee mystic and warrior, usually known as Tecumseh

Contents

Sourced

  • So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
  • Brothers— My people wish for peace; the red men all wish for peace; but where the white people are, there is no peace for them, except it be on the bosom of our mother. Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pokanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun. Will we let ourselves be destroyed in our turn without a struggle, give up our homes, our country bequeathed to us by the Great Spirit, the graves of our dead and everything that is dear to us? I know you will cry with me, NEVER! NEVER!.
    • Sleep Not Longer, O Choctaws and Chickasaws, a speech before a joint council of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations (1811)
  • The annihilation of our race is at hand unless we unite in one common cause against the common foe. Think not, brave Choctaws and Chickasaws, that you can remain passive and indifferent to the common danger, and thus escape the common fate. Your people, too, will soon be as falling leaves and scattering clouds before their blighting breath. You, too, will be driven away from your native land and ancient domains as leaves are driven before the wintry storms.
    Sleep not longer, O Choctaws and Chickasaws, in false security and delusive hopes. Our broad domains are fast escaping from our grasp. Every year our white intruders become more greedy, exacting, oppressive and overbearing. Every year contentions spring up between them and our people and when blood is shed we have to make atonement whether right or wrong, at the cost of the lives of our greatest chiefs, and the yielding up of large tracts of our lands.
    • Speech before a joint council of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations (1811)
  • If there be one here tonight who believes that his rights will not sooner or later be taken from him by the avaricious American pale faces, his ignorance ought to excite pity, for he knows little of our common foe... Then listen to the voice of duty, of honor, of nature and of your endangered country. Let us form one body, one heart, and defend to the last warrior our country, our homes, our liberty, and the graves of our fathers.
    • Speech before a joint council of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations (1811)
  • One of my legs is shot off! But leave me one or two guns loaded— I am going to have a last shot. Be quick and go!
    • Account given by Andrew J. Blackbird (Mack-e-te-be-nessy) of the Ottawa, of the last words declared by Tecumtha to his fellow warriors, as he lay on the ground after being severely wounded by a musket ball in the leg, and prior to being swarmed over by many U.S. troops. Another account that was long given credence was that he was killed by Colonel Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky with a pistol shot, as Tecumtha leapt at the man on horseback with a tomahawk. Historians have grown skeptical of this account. (5 October 1813)
  • Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pokanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun.
  • Will we let ourselves be destroyed in our turn without a struggle, give up our homes, our country bequeathed to us by the Great Spirit, the graves of our dead and everything that is dear and sacred to us? I know you will cry with me, 'Never! Never!'
    • Sleep Not Longer, O Choctaws and Chickasaws, a speech before a joint council of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations (1811), read at the 1927 Grand Council of American Indians.

Tecumseh to Governor Harrison (August 1810)

Account one

Quotations from a statement reported to have been spoken to William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Indiana Territory (11 August 1810)
  • Brother, I wish you to give me close attention, because I think you do not clearly understand. I want to speak to you about promises that the Americans have made.
    You recall the time when the Jesus Indians of the Delawares lived near the Americans, and had confidence in their promises of friendship, and thought they were secure, yet the Americans murdered all the men, women, and children, even as they prayed to Jesus?
  • Flags were given to my people, and they were told they were now the children of the Americans. We were told, if any white people mean to harm you, hold up these flags and you will then be safe from all danger. We did this in good faith. But what happened? Our beloved chief Moluntha stood with the American flag in front of him and that very peace treaty in his hand, but his head was chopped by a American officer, and that American officer was never punished. Brother, after such bitter events, can you blame me for placing little confidence in the promises of Americans?
  • It is you, the Americans, by such bad deeds, who push the red men to do mischief. You do not want unity among the tribes, and you destroy it. You try to make differences between them. We, their leaders, wish them to unite and consider their land the common property of all, but you try to keep them from this. You separate the tribes and deal with them that way, one by one, and advise them not to come into this union. Your states have set an example of forming a union among all the Fires, why should you censure the Indians for following that example?
    But, brother, I mean to bring all the tribes together, in spite of you, and until I have finished, I will not go to visit your president. Maybe I will when I have finished, maybe. The reason I tell you this, you want, by making your distinctions of Indian tribes and allotting to each a particular tract of land, to set them against each other, and thus to weaken us.
  • The only way to stop this evil is for all the red men to unite in claiming an equal right in the land. That is how it was at first, and should be still, for the land never was divided, but was for the use of everyone. Any tribe could go to an empty land and make a home there. And if they left, another tribe could come there and make a home. No groups among us have a right to sell, even to one another, and surely not to outsiders who want all, and will not do with less. Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds, and the Great Sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Good Spirit make them all for the use of his children?
  • Brother, I was glad to hear what you told us. you said that if we could prove that the land was sold by people who had no right to sell it, you would restore it. I will prove that those who did sell did not own it. Did they have a deed? A title? No! You say those prove someone owns land. Those chiefs only spoke a claim, and so you pretended to believe their claim, only because you wanted the land. But the many tribes with me will not agree with those claims. They have never had a title to sell, and we agree this proves you could not buy it from them.
  • I am Shawnee! I am a warrior! My forefathers were warriors. From them I took only my birth into this world. From my tribe I take nothing. I am the maker of my own destiny! And of that I might make the destiny of my red people, of our nation, as great as I conceive to in my mind, when I think of Weshemoneto, who rules this universe! I would not then have to come to Governor Harrison and ask him to tear up this treaty and wipe away the marks upon the land. No! I would say to him, "Sir, you may return to your own country!"
  • The being within me hears the voice of the ages, which tells me that once, always, and until lately, there were no white men on all this island, that it then belonged to the red men, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Good Spirit who made them, to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its yield, and to people it with the same race. Once they were a happy race! Now they are made miserable by the white people, who are never contented but are always coming in! You do this always, after promising not to anyone, yet you ask us to have confidence in your promises. How can we have confidence in the white people? When Jesus Christ came upon the earth, you killed him, the son of your own God, you nailed him up! You thought he was dead, but you were mistaken. And only after you thought you killed him did you worship him, and start killing those who would not worship him. What kind of a people is this for us to trust?
  • Now, Brother, everything I have said to you is the truth, as Weshemoneto has inspired me to speak only truth to you. I have declared myself freely to you about my intentions. And I want to know your intentions. I want to know what you are going to do about the taking of our land. I want to hear you say that you understand now, and will wipe out that pretended treaty, so that the tribes can be at peace with each other, as you pretend you want them to be. Tell me, brother. I want to know now.

Account Two

Quotations from another account of a statement reported to have been delivered to Governor William Henry Harrison in council at Vincennes (12 August 1810)

[This is at many points similar, and may be a slightly different account of the same statement reportedly made on the eleventh, above. Sufficient information has not yet been gathered to clarify the ultimate provenance and accuracy of either statement, here at Wikiquote.]

  • It is true I am a Shawnee. My forefathers were warriors. Their son is a warrior. From them I take only my existence; from my tribe I take nothing. I am the maker of my own fortune; and oh! that I could make that of my red people, and of my country, as great as the conceptions of my mind, when I think of the Spirit that rules the universe. I would not then come to Governor Harrison to ask him to tear the treaty and to obliterate the landmark; but I would say to him: "Sir, you have liberty to return to your own country."
  • The being within, communing with past ages, tells me that once, nor until lately, there was no white man on this continent; that it then all belonged to red men, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit that made them, to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its productions, and to fill it with the same race, once a happy race, since made miserable by the white people who are never contented but always encroaching. The way, and the only way, to check and to stop this evil, is for all the red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first, and should be yet; for it never was divided, but belongs to all for the use of each. For no part has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers—those who want all, and will not do with less.
  • The white people have no right to take the land from the Indians, because they had it first; it is theirs. They may sell, but all must join. Any sale not made by all is not valid. The late sale is bad. It was made by a part only. Part do not know how to sell. It requires all to make a bargain for all. All red men have equal rights to the unoccupied land. The right of occupancy is as good in one place as in another. There can not be two occupations in the same place. The first excludes all others. It is not so in hunting or traveling; for there the same ground will serve many, as they may follow each other all day; but the camp is stationary, and that is occupancy. It belongs to the first who sits down on his blanket or skins which he has thrown upon the ground; and till he leaves it no other has a right.

Unsourced

Some of these are very similar to statements made above, and may be variant translations of the same statement, or accounts from similar statements. Tecumtha was a capable campaigner for Indian unity as a means of resisting the encroachments of the U.S. upon Indian lands, and probably made similar declarations many times.
  • A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.
    • This is similar to statements made by Aesop, and in the Jewish scriptures.
  • No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers... Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn't the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?
  • The way, the only way to stop this evil is for the red man to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was first, and should be now, for it was never divided. We gave them forest-clad mountains and valleys full of game, and in return what did they give our warriors and our women? Rum, trinkets, and a grave.
  • When the legends die, the dreams end; there is no more greatness.

Quotations about Tecumtha

  • He who attracted most my attention was a Shawnee chief, Tecumseh— a more sagacious or a more gallant warrior does not I believe exist. He was the admiration of everyone who conversed with him.
    • Briitish Major-General Sir Isaac Brock
  • It is difficult to feel greatness after a lapse of 200 years, but Tecumseh truly seems admirable. He was noble in his speech and behavior, adamant in his opposition to U.S. expansion, farsighted in his policies, brave in battle, yet merciful and protective toward captives.
    • Devin Bent in Tecumseh: A Brief Biography
  • If it were not for the vicinity of the United States, he would perhaps be the founder of an empire that would rival in glory Mexico or Peru. No difficulties deter him. For four years he has been in constant motion. You see him today on the Wabash, and in a short time hear of him on the shores of Lake Erie or Michigan, or on the banks of the Mississippi, and wherever he goes he makes an impression favorable to his purpose.

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