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Tecumseh
Tecumseh

Born around 1768, Tecumseh the Shawnee chieftain led a movement to unite the Indian tribes threatened by American expansion. With this union Tecumseh and his brother, the prophet Tenskwatawa, hoped to secure Indians' lands against white encroachment while also preserving Native American cultural and religious practices. Traveling from present-day Wisconsin to Florida, Tecumseh beseeched the tribes, which had often warred with one another, to come together to face their common enemy. Tecumseh's activities brought a swift response from the federal government, acting through Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison. In 1811 Harrison's forces massed to attack the Shawnee brothers' home village in north central Indiana. The resulting battle of Tippecanoe dealt Indian forces a severe blow, but did not dissolve the confederacy or end the pattern of Indian raids in the Northwest. Only the War of 1812, in which Tecumseh joined with British forces in an attempt to turn back the tide of Americans' western expansion, brought the Shawnee's bold gambit to an end. Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames in present-day Ontario in 1813. In the war's wake Native Americans faced the loss of their British allies and their talented leader, as well as ever-increasing white pressure for western lands.

Image source: Knox College
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project