Tecumseh's Speech, of August 11, 1810, To Governer William Harrison

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"Brother, I wish you to listen carefully, as I do not think you understand what I so often have told you. Brother, since the peace was made you have killed some of the Shawanoes, the Winnebagos, the Delawares and the Miamis, and have taken our lands. We cannot long remain at peace if you persist in doing these things. The Indians have resolved to unite to preserve their lands, but you try to prevent this by taking tribes aside and advising them not to join the Confederacy. The United States has set us an example by forming a union of their Fires. We do not complain. Why, then, should you complain if the Indians do the same thing among their tribes? You buy lands from the village chiefs who have no right to sell. If you continue to buy lands from these petty chiefs, there will be trouble, and I cannot foretell the consequences. The land belongs to all the Indians, and cannot be sold without the consent of all. We intend to punish these village chiefs who have been false to us. It is true I am a Shawanoe, but I speak for all the Indians—Wyandottes, Miamis, Delawares, Kickapoos, Ottawas, Pottawatomies, Winnebagos and Shawanoes, for the Indians of the Lakes and for those whose hunting-grounds lie along the Mississippi, even down to the salt sea. My forefathers were warriors. Their son is a warrior. From them I take only my existence. From my tribe I take nothing. I am the maker of my own fortune. Oh, could I but make the fortune of my red people as great as I conceive when I commune with the Great Spirit who rules the universe! The voice within me communing with past ages tells me that once, and not so long ago, there were no white men on this continent. It then belonged to the red men, who were placed there by the Great Spirit to enjoy it, both they and their children. Now our once happy people are miserable, driven back by the white men, who are never contented but always encroaching. The way, the only way, to check this evil is for the red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land as it was at first, and should be yet, for it was the gift of the Great Spirit to us all, and therefore the few cannot cede it away forever. What! Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds and the great sea, as well as the earth? Backward have the Americans driven us from the sea, and on towards the setting sun are we being forced, nekatacushe katopolinto—like a galloping horse—but now we will yield no further, but here make our stand. Brother, I wish you would take pity on the red people and do what I have requested. The Great Spirit has inspired me, and I speak nothing but the truth to you."


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