In a speech to then Governor of the Indiana Territory, William
Harrison, Tecumseh spoke the following words on August 11, 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?

    The same promises were given to the Shawnee one time. It was at
    Fort Finney, where some of my people were forced to make a
    treaty. 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? That happened
    before the Treaty of Greenville. When they buried the tomahawk
    at Greenville, the Americans said they were our new fathers, not
    the British anymore, and would treat us well. Since that treaty,
    here is how the Americans have treated us well: They have killed
    many Shawnee, many Winnebagoes, many Miamis, many
    Delawares, and have taken land from them. When they killed
    them, no American ever was punished, not one.

    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.

    You never see an Indian come, do you, and endeavor to make the
    white people divide up?

    You are always driving the red people this way! At last you will
    drive them into the Great Lake, where they can neither stand nor walk.

    Brother, you ought to know what you are doing to the Indians.
    Is it by the direction of the president you make these distinctions?
    It is a very bad thing, and we do not like it. Since my residence at
    Tippecanoe, we have tried to level all distinctions, to destroy
    village chiefs, by whom all such mischief is done. It is they who
    sell our lands to the Americans. Brother, these lands that were
    sold and the goods that were given for them were done by only a
    few. The Treaty of Fort Wayne was made through the threats of
    Winnemac, but in the future we are going to punish those chiefs
    who propose to sell the land.

    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. If the land is not given
    back to us, you will see, when we return to our homes from here,
    how it will be settled. It will be like this:

    We shall have a great council, at which all tribes will be present.
    We shall show to those who sold that they had no rights to the
    claim they set up, and we shall see what will be done to those
    chiefs who did sell the land to you. I am not alone in this
    determination, it is the determination of all the warriors and red
    people who listen to me. Brother, I now wish you to listen to me.
    If you do not wipe out that treaty, it will seem that you wish me
    to kill all the chiefs who sold the land! I tell you so because I am
    authorized by all tribes to do so! I am the head of them all! All
    my warriors will meet together with me in two or three moons
    from now. Then I will call for those chiefs who sold you this
    land, and we shall know what to do with them. If you do not
    restore the land, you will have had a hand in killing 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 you 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.


    Chief Tecumseh

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