To what extent did Tecumseh contribute to the war of 1812?
My independent investigation focused more on the contribution Tecumseh had in the war of 1812, told from the perspective of my imaginary character “Bineshii.” I chose to focus on this topic, because of how important yet underrated the First Nations were and still are. I believe it’s important for me to spend more time researching and learning about indigenous peoples, because of how much they’ve impacted Canada today.
I have decided to keep a record of my journeys during this frightening time. My name is Bineshii, and I am the second in command to Tecumseh, our Shawnee Chief.
Tecumseh is a very important person. I know everything about his origin, because he trusts me with his life. He was born in Ohio during 1768. He has come from an incredibly bold background, filled with indigenous peoples that fought for their rights and their land. His father, Pukeshinwau, was a minor Shawnee chief who was killed in the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. Actually, it has just come across my mind that Tecumseh is a lot like his father.
In order to understand this war, you must understand its causes. Although we are not directly connected to the reasoning behind this battle, we will bravely participate to protect. Our ally, Great Britain, has caused major controversy between the Americans. The British have refused to keep their word and surrender their western forts as promised in the Treaty of Paris, overall attacking America’s authority.
After the battle for independence from Great Britain, there has been continued tension. This fight, this war, has become a war for territory, for land. The British have continued to ally with us, encouraging us to fight back and stand our ground. How incompetent does everything think we are?
Recently, our territory has been getting invaded without permission. We will fight to the death to protect our people and homes. I can only hope that in the future, we will have the right and respect our lands deserves. Oh yes, and if most of the British patronizing us is not enough, they have also decided to discontinue American ships from trading with France, and then drafting them into the Royal Navy. Yes, this is beneficial to us in a sense, but it also creates more conflict and danger for our people as a whole. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the support Great Britain is providing. Helping us fight for our land, providing support, without them this would not be possible.
Time has passed. It is now August of 1812, and a plethora of events have happened. The Americans have declared war against the British and Ireland. I am writing this out of fear, but also pure excitement and disbelief. A British man titled Major General Isaac Brock, has traveled to us, Amherst burg, where we have just organized an attack on Fort Detroit. Let me rephrase. A powerful white man has taken time out of his life to negotiate and meet with Tecumseh and warriors such as myself. This truly is a new era in history.
The meeting was much more casual and polite than expected. When the ceremonies occurred, Tecumseh demonstrated power and wisdom, his leadership skills thriving. Brock was incredibly impressed and exemplified his respect for Tecumseh. I just hope that this new friendship will not go to waste.
Success! With all of our men together, we have managed to captured Detroit! All of this, quite impressively, without losing any of our warriors. I understand that this is not the beginning of British and native interaction, but it is a major event in our history. Easily defeating the Americans felt extravagant.
It is over. It happened on the fifth of October, Battle of Thames. Only days ago, we were defeated by Americans, by General William Harrison’s army. Only days ago, Tecumseh died in battle. He fought for three hours non-stop. If I could get my hands on the white man who killed him, he would be dead in no time.
This will be my last journal entry. When Tecumseh died, we did as well. I recall speaking to him when he was alive. He spoke about wanting our territory back, about protecting our people, but he also mentioned more. He mentioned the Americans, the British, about them becoming independent. His goal was to make our nations independent. Now that he has passed on, it is over. We have given up, and there is no going back. My belief in the future has faded away. Goodbye.
Continuity and Change:
This was vaguely mentioned in the journal entries, but in the past Indigenous peoples have been treated wrongly. Comparing the current time and the past, the two are very similar. We continue to treat first nations the same way we did in the past, by taking advantage of their rightful land, an example of this is being the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Although, much like when Isaac Brock visited, we are beginning to recognize more and more about first nation’s land, but not enough.
Cause and Consequence:
In “ENTRY #4” Bineshii spoke about the main causes of the war of 1812, specifically how the British did not live up to their promises, and how they continued to create conflict with the Americans. Some examples of this are the restrictions placed on their trade, their ships, and the drafting of American soldiers.
The first year of the war of 1812 served as an embarrassment to Americans, because of the alliance between the British and the First Nations. Simultaneously, the Federalist Party (founded by Alexander Hamilton) began to decline in popularity because they opposed having a war against the British. In the end of the war, the only impact was establishing borders. There had been no real winner or loser, but the Americans had held up against the global superpower once again, exemplifying their independence.
Conclusion: Based on my research, Tecumseh was a major factor in the War of 1812. He provided great wisdom and respect, and was an amazing ally with the British. Without Tecumseh, there would have been a much more obvious winner, and with his leadership, he was able to lead the British and First Nation’s to the destruction of American troops during the Siege of Fort Detroit. I also had to keep in mind that Tecumseh is not the only factor in this situation. He also inspired his people to fight and protect, proven when he was killed protecting British troops. Tecumseh is considered the most humble, the most savage, and a First Nation’s legend.
“Causes and Effects of the War of 1812.” MrNussbaumcom Samuel De Champlain Biography for Kids Comments, mrnussbaum.com/causes-and-effects-of-the-war-of-1812/.
Marsh, James H. “Tecumseh.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/tecumseh/.
Northern Affairs Canada. “Exhibit: Aboriginal Contributions to the War of 1812.” Government of Canada; Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 16 Feb. 2016, www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1348771334472/1348771382418.
“Summer 1812: British General Isaac Brock and Shawnee Leader Tecumseh Form an Alliance (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/articles/brock-meets-tecumseh.htm.
Canada: A People’s History Episode 5 “A Question of Loyalties”
Crossroads Chapter 9 – “Canada and the War of 1812”