94 Speech of Tecumseh to Governor Harrison


” Brother: I wish you to listen to me well As I think you do not clearly understand what I before said to you, I will explain it again. . . .

” Brother, since the peace was made, you have killed some of the Shawnees, Winnebagoes, Delawares, and Miamis, and yott have taken our land from us, and I do not see how we can remain at peace if you continue to do so. You try to force the red people to do some injury. It is you that are pushing them on to do mischief. You endeavor to make distinctions. You wish to prevent the Indians doing as we wish them — to unite, and let them consider their lands as the common property of the whole ; you take tribes aside and advise them not to come into this measure ; and until our design is accomplished we do not wish to accept of your invitation to go and see the President The reason I tell you this, you want, by your distinctions of Indian tribes in allotting to each a particular tract of land, to make them to war with each other. You never see an Indian come and endeavor to make the white people do so. You are continually driving the red people; when, at last, you will drive them into the Great Lake, where they can’t either stand or walk.

” Brother, you ought to know what you are doing with the Indians. Perhaps it is by direction of the President to make those distinctions. It is a very bad thing, and we do not like it Since my residence at Tippecanoe we have endeavored to level all distinctions — to destroy village chiefs, by whom all mischief is done. It is they who sell our lands to the Americans. Our object is to let our affairs b». <r/Ans. acted by warriors.

” Brother, this land that was sold and the goods that were given for it were only done by a few. The treaty was afterwards brought here, and the Weas were induced to give their consent because of their small numbers. The treaty at Fort Wayne was made through the threats of Winnemac ; but in future we are prepared to punish those chiefs who may come forward to propose to sell the land. If you continue to purchase of them it will produce war among the different tribes, and at last, I do not know what will be the consequence to the white people.

” Brother, I was glad to hear your speech. You said that if we could show that the land was sold by people that had no right to sell, you would restore it Those that did sell did not own it It was me. These tribes set up a claim, but the tribes with me will not agree with their claim. If the land is not restored to us you will see, when we return to our homes, how it will be settled. We shall have a great council, at which all the tribes will be present, when we shall show to those who sold that they had no right to the claim that they set up ; and we will see what will be done to those chiefs that did sell the land to you. I am not alone in this determination ; it is the determination of all the warriors and red people that listen to me. I now wish you to listen to me. If you do not, it will appear as if you wished me to kill all the

chiefs that sold you the land I tell you so because I am authorized by all the tribes to do so. I am the head of them all ; I am a warrior, and all the warriors will meet together in two or three moons from this ; then I will call for those chiefs that sold you the land and shall know what to do with them. If you do not restore the land, you will have a hand in killing them.

” Brother, do not believe that I came here to get presents from you. If you offer us any, we will not take. By taking goods from you, you will hereafter say that with them you purchased another piece of land from us. . . It has been the object of both myself and brother to prevent the lands being sold. Should you not return the land, it will occasion us to call a great council that will meet at the Huron village, where the council-fire has already been lighted, at which those who sold the lands shall be called, and shall suffer for their conduct

” Brother, I wish you would take pity on the red people and do what I have requested. If you will not give up the land and do cross the boundary of your present settlement, it will be very hard, and produce great troubles among us. How can we have confidence in the white people ? When Jesus Christ came on earth, you killed him and nailed him on a cross. You thought he was dead, but you were mistaken. You have Shakers among you, and you laugh and make light of their worship. Everything I have said to you is the truth. The Great Spirit has inspired me, and I speak nothing but the truth to you. . . . Brother, I hope you will confess that you ought not to have listened to those bad birds who bring you bad news. I have declared myself freely to you, and if any explanation should be required from our town, send a man who can speak to us. If you think proper to give us any presents, and we can be convinced that they are given through friendship alone, we will accept them. As we intend to hold our council at the Huron village, that is near the British, we may probably make them a visit Should they offer us any presents of goods, we will not take them ; but should they offer us powder and the tomahawk, we will take the powder and refuse the tomahawk. I wish you, brother, to consider everything I have said as true, and that it is the sentiment of all the red people that listen to me.”



Tecumseh and the Shawnee Prophet, Edward Eggleston and Lillie Eggleston Seelye, Public Domain.


Icon for the Public Domain license

This work (Speech of Tecumseh to Governor Harrison by Tecumseh) is free of known copyright restrictions.

Share This Book