Picture of Tecumseh

Fast Facts about Tecumseh
Who was Tecumseh and why was this Native Indian chief famous? Summary: Tecumseh was a famous Shawnee Indian chief who fought in Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812. His strategy to unite Native Indian tribes in resistance against US encroachment failed with the defeat of his brother, Tenskwatawa the Prophet at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

Tecumseh was an ally of the British in the War of 1812. Tecumseh fought and died at the Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812. The following fact sheet contains interesting facts, background history and information about the life of Tecumseh and the events in history that led to his fame as a great Native American Indian leader.

Fast Facts about Tecumseh

Tribe: Shawnee
Lifespan of Tecumseh: 1768 – 1813
Place of Birth: Scioto River, near Chillicothe, Ohio
Date of Birth: March 1768
Date of Death: October 5, 1813
Place of Death:  Moravian of the Thames (in modern Chatham-Kent, Ontario)
Name of Father: Puckshinwa
Name of Mother: Methoataske
Siblings: Tenskwatawa the Prophet
Famous Battles in Tecumseh's War (1811–1813): The Battle of Tippecanoe (1811), the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the War of 1812 and the Battle of the Thames

Death of Tecumseh: The great Shawnee chief Tecumseh was killed in the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813

Tecumseh - The Battle of Fallen Timbers
The Battle of Fallen Timbers was fought on August 20, 1794. The Western Confederacy of Native American tribes including the Shawnee, Lenape, Mingo, Wyandot, Miami, Ottawa, Ojibwa (Chippewa) and the Potawatomi joined together to battle against the US army under Major General Anthony Wayne. The Native Indian leaders included Chief Blue Jacket, Chief Little Turtle, Chief Buckongahelas and Tecumseh. The Native Americans were defeated. The Treaty of Greenville was signed on August 3, 1795 and ended the Northwest Indian War in Ohio Country. The Battle of Fallen Timbers secured the northwest frontier and demonstrated the strength of the new national government following the American Revolutionary War

Tecumseh's War - Treaty of Fort Wayne
Tecumseh’s War started when Governor William Henry Harrison negotiated the Treaty of Fort Wayne where the Native American Indians gave up 3 million acres of Native American land to the American settlers. The negotiation was questionable as it was unauthorized by the President and the United States government. According to the historians, it was comparable as bribery as the Governor gave out huge subsidies to the tribes and their chiefs before the negotiations happened.

Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and Tecumseh’s Confederacy which was a huge tribal LEAGUE. Tecumseh declared that land could not be ceded by one tribe because it was owned by all tribes in common. This confederacy was known for going against the United States as they battled to gain an independent Indian state. They allied with the British government so they could achieve their goal, to rid themselves of the American settlers that were situated in their region.

Tecumseh's War - Recruitment Campaign
Tecumseh was alarmed by the enormous sale of Native American land that he traveled from different tribes, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and asked them to leave their chiefs and join him against the signed treaty. He was accompanied by his brother Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, to realise his plans to found a pan-Indian league or confederacy. He told the other tribe members that the treaty was illegal. Tecumseh asked Governor William Harrison to cancel the signed treaty and return the land purchased from the natives. Unfortunately, the governor refused to give in to Tecumseh's demands.

Tecumseh's War - Governor William Harrison
On August 1810, Tecumseh together with 400 armed warriors met with Governor William Harrison at his Vincennes home in Grouseland. The tribe’s presence surprised the entire town and the situation became more dangerous when Governor William Harrison denied Tecumseh’s request. The governor argued that any tribe can have a peaceful and working relationship with the United States. Tecumseh’s actions were not pleasing to the tribes in the area. Tecumseh rebutted:

"... 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 ... Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children? How can we have confidence in the white people?"

After Tecumseh’s rebuttal, he asked his warriors to kill the governor. The governor was quick enough to pull out his sword while the town’s battalion went to defend the governor. Potawatomi Chief Winnemac, asked the warriors to leave after he argued and rebutted with Tecumseh. Before Tecumseh’s tribe left, he told Governor William Harrison that as long as he will not cancel the treaty, he will ask for the British government to help them.

Tecumseh summoned to Harrison’s home a few times in 1811 due to the murder of some American settlers on the border line. Tecumseh had defended himself that his tribe wanted to have peace with the Americans, but the outstanding issues needed to be resolved otherwise, there would be war.

Tecumseh's War - The Battle of Tippecanoe (November 7, 1811)
The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought on November 7, 1811, between United States forces led by Governor William Harrison and forces of Tecumseh's growing American Indian confederation, led by his younger brother Tenskwatawa. Tecumseh was temporarily out of the region on a recruiting venture among the Creeks in the south, After a 2 hour battle, the Native Americans were forced to flee and their village, the meeting place of Tecumseh's confederacy, was destroyed.

Tecumseh - The War of 1812
During the War of 1812, Tecumseh sided with the British as he had threatened. On August 16, 1812, he led his warriors in a combined assault with British troops against Detroit. It was a great victory as the American garrison was forced to surrender. During the following year Tecumseh strengthened his forces with recruits from distant Sioux and Chippewa tribes.

Tecumseh - The Battle of the Thames
Tecumseh assembled his confederation of warriors during the spring of 1813. On April 26, 1813 the chief began a well planned siege that ended in the defeat on May 5, 1812 of a sizeable force of soldiers under the command of William Henry Harrison. Five months later on October 5, 1813 near Chatham, Ontario, the great Shawnee chief Tecumseh was killed in the Battle of the Thames. The dream of Tecumseh and the great Indian alliance and confederacy died with him.

Famous Tecumseh Quotes
Famous Tecumseh quotes include the following. He rallied many tribes to his alliance by his attacks on white people:

"Brothers, the white people are like poisonous serpents: when chilled they are feeble and harmless,
but invigorate them with warmth and they sting their benefactors to death."

"Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart...Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify
all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and in the service of your people.”

"When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose lives are filled with the fear of death, so that when 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.”

The Story of Tecumseh
For additional facts and information refer to the legend and the
Story of Tecumseh.

Famous Native Indians
Native Indian Tribes Index

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