Tecumseh (/tɛˈkʌmsə/ te-KUM-sə; March 1768 – October 5, 1813) was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy (known as Tecumseh's Confederacy) which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and became an ally of Britain in the War of 1812.
Tecumseh grew up in the Ohio Country during the American Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War, where he was constantly exposed to warfare. With Americans continuing to move west after the British ceded the Ohio Valley to the new United States in 1783, the Shawnee moved farther northwest. In 1808, they settled Prophetstown in present-day Indiana. With a vision of establishing an independent Native American nation east of the Mississippi under British protection, Tecumseh worked to recruit additional tribes to the confederacy from the southern United States.
During the War of 1812, Tecumseh's confederacy allied with the British and helped in the capture of Fort Detroit. Prior to the raid, Chief Tecumseh delivered a powerful speech upon a rock that is preserved to this day at Fort Malden. After the U.S. Navy took control of Lake Erie in 1813, the Native Americans and British retreated. American forces caught them at the Battle of the Thames, and killed Tecumseh in October 1813. With his death, his confederation disintegrated, and the Native Americans had to move west again, yet Tecumseh became an iconic folk hero in American, Aboriginal and Canadian history.
By Dean Hanley
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