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Discovering Life and Significance of the Native American Shawnee Warrior and Chief, Tecumseh

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Tecumseh was a Shawnee Indian whose purpose was to prevent the Indians from being displaced by the government. He was known for being long-winded, well informed, polite and direct (Ripper, 2008). Tecumseh organized one of the most successful resistance movements against the United States in the early 1790’s, uniting several indigenous groups into what became known as Tecumseh’s Confederacy. There was no real centralized, intertribal leadership for the Native Americans, so when a group made a treaty, the treaty did not represent other Indian tribes interest or feeling. U.S negotiators used this fact to their advantage by giving the Indians lavish gifts such as money and liqueurs to the willing, who would, in turn, be signing for the unwilling (Ripper, 2008). Tecumseh notices these actions taking place and was not going to stand by and let the white settlers take advantage of the Indians and their land.

In the early 1790’s the United States suffered many military defeats against the Shawnee led armies. At the time General Anthony Wayne trained a militia known as his “American Legion” to fight back against the Indians. By 1794, the battle of Fallen Timbers occurred with the Shawnees being defeated. It was this battle that Tecumseh proved his worth and rose to fame (Ripper, 2008). One of the most significant problems that the federal government faced was they were unable to control the frontiers vengeance from taking over the Indian lands creating bad relations between the Indians and the federal government. The federal government set up meetings with Tecumseh and other Indian tribal leaders to try to reach accommodations. In 1810, William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh met and exchanged two days’ worth of clashing negotiations. The meeting was precipitated by the Treaty of Fort Wayne, arranged by Harrison in 1809 who gathered together a couple of Indian chiefs to get them drunk and have them sign away lands that belonged to other tribes (Ripper, 2008).

The United States granted none of Tecumseh’s request to return the lands that were improperly sold. In 1808, relations between whites and Indians had become even more strained than in recent pasts. The year 1811 was when everything took a turn for the worse between the Indians and the federal government. Governor Harrison became convinced that Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa were going to attack the capital, even though both men repeatedly tried to reassure Harrison that his accusations were false (Ripper, 2008). Harrison created an army of militia and federal troops to attack the Indians before they could strike first. The battles between Harrison and Tecumseh led into Tecumseh and other Indians tribe siding with the British during the war of 1812. On October 5, 1813, the fighting became hand to hand combat with swords, tomahawks, and knives slashing about. Somewhere in the battle Tecumseh dropped to the ground and never stood up again (Ripper, 2008).

The Native Americans fought to preserve their lands but were no match for the federal government and their armies. The displacements of Indian tribes are what we know as the Indian Removal Act that was signed by Andrew Jackson.

My Question is: How did the Indian removal act benefit the United States?

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