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Updated on April 26, 2015

Shawnee Chief Tecumseh

Highly intelligent and widely respected, Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh attempted to assemble various Indian tribes in an effort to fight off white settlement into the center of the North America, namely the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. Tecumseh was eventually unsuccessful, but his brave and principled stand made him a respected figure in both the Indian and white cultures.

Public domain image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Tecumseh Quote

"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." - Tecumseh

Quote via Wikiquote

Public domain image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Life of Tecumseh

Brief Overview

In the early 1800's Tecumseh became increasingly concerned over the Native American's reliance on trade with the white man. He was even more bothered by the continuing advancement of the white settlers westward. Tecumseh knew that he needed to take action.

Tecumseh quickly began a concerted effort to persuade the Indians to unite and resist the white man's invasion. Together, Tecumseh told the various tribes that together, they had the strength to stop the whites. Uplifted by this idea, Indians from as far away as Florida and Minnesota answered Tecumseh's call. By 1810, he had assembled the Ohio Valley Confederacy, which united Indians from seven different tribes.

For over a year, Tecumseh's Indian Confederacy successfully delayed further white settlement in the area. In 1811, however, the future president William Henry Harrison led an attack on the confederacy on the Tippecanoe River. At the time, Tecumseh was in the South trying to convince more tribes to join his movement. Although the battle of Tippecanoe was a close, hard-fought battle, Harrison finally won out and destroyed much of Tecumseh's army.

When the War of 1812 began the following year, Tecumseh immediately ordered what was left of his army to aid the British. Appointed the title of Brigadier General, he proved an effective ally and played a big role in the British capture of Detroit. But when the tide of the war turned in favor of the Americans, Tecumseh's fortunes went down with those of the British. On October 5, 1813, he was killed during Battle of the Thames. His Ohio Valley Confederacy and dream of Indian unity died with him.

Another Tecumseh Quote

"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." - Tecumseh

Quote via

Tecumseh commemorative Shawnee Nation dollar (2002 issue)

Public domain photo courtesy Wikipedia/Rosser1954

Tecumseh Statue Dedication

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    • Lemming13 profile image

      Lemming13 5 years ago

      Fascinating lens on a fascinating topic. Inspires me to find out more about Tecumseh and his life.

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 5 years ago from Midwest

      I read a book about Tecumseh and his brother years ago. There are many books written on this subject. Wish I could remember the author of the one I read.

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      crstnblue 6 years ago

      Enlightening lens! Tecumseh seems that have had same principles as Spartan king, Leonidas (in the battle from Thermopiles) :)

    • profile image

      kylekartarn 6 years ago

      Excellent Lense. Squid mine at

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I think the Indiana of the Northeast and Midwest had a raw deal. They fought with one side or the other in the hope that they would be treated fairly, but it was never the case. Tecumseh was a great leader in my opinion. Lensrolled to my One Hundred Years Ago lens.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      What an honor I have here in getting to be the first to put a thumb up to you here! Thank you for honoring this very honorable man in our nation's history. I love the Tecumseh quote you chose, he was a great Chief.