Tecumseh

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T ecumseh Address to the Osages 1811
Tecumseh allegedly delivered this speech to a band of Osages to solicit support for a pan-Indian confederacy to fight U.S. encroachment on their lands. The sole account of this speech is by John Dunn Hunter (1798?–1827), an Anglo-American, who claimed to have been raised among the Osages. Because Hunter’s Memoirs of a Captivity Among the Indians of North America (1823) prompted criticism of U.S. Indian policies, American officials quickly concerted counterattacks to discredit the author. Consequently, the authenticity of the speech has been widely questioned. However, United States War Department records validate that Tecumseh did visit the Osages in 1811 and Tecumseh’s reference to a great mid-western earthquake date the speech to roughly that same year. Though his trip was to end after meeting with the Osages, Tecumseh extended his campaigning northward up the Mississippi River after learning about the battle of Tippecanoe and the destruction of Prophetstown. Weakened by defeat and enjoying only marginal success in recruiting allies, Tecumseh and his confederacy fought the War of 1812 alongside the British. He was shot and killed by American troops in 1813 while continuing a stand on the Thames River, despite being abandoned by allied British troops on the battlefield. –Benjamin Reiss Bibliography: John Sugden, Tecumseh: A Life (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1998). [1] Brothers, we all belong to one family; we are all children of the Great Spirit; we walk in the same path; slake our thirst at the same spring; and now affairs of the greatest concern lead us to smoke the pipe around the same council fire! [2] Brothers, we are friends; we must assist each other to bear our burdens. The blood of many of our fathers and brothers has run like water on the ground, to satisfy the avarice of the white men. We, ourselves, are threatened with a great evil; nothing will pacify them but the destruction of all the red men. [3] Brothers,...
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