biography check-in: Tecumseh

“Ruddell was another white boy who grew up with the Shawnee after they snatched him during a raid […] he and Tecumseh became blood brothers…” (Poling Sr, 22)

This quote early on exemplifies a major characteristic of Tecumseh, both during his youth and throughout becoming an adult. Through this quote, I was able to gain a larger perspective on the attacks and raids Tecumseh’s tribe, presenting a kind and understanding side. After raising Ruddell as one of their own, it was interesting to read about them becoming good friends and major parts of one another’s lives, as well as it being incredibly wholesome. However, I do wonder what it would have been like if Ruddell had never been taken, instead living his life without meeting Tecumseh and thus without learning from him.

This passage presented the values of Tecumseh’s tribe at the time, raising a white child as their own, teaching him their own values and beliefs. It was not only his family caring for the child, but also young Tecumseh himself, playing and trusting this new addition to his family. As he grew up, Ruddell and Tecumseh became better and closer friends. Tecumseh’s values regarding acceptance continued to grow throughout his life, similar to the values of acceptance Canada holds today. As a young boy and a leader, his compassion for all human life supported/created the idea that all should be able to live peacefully with one another.

“Dislike of needless cruelty became a Tecumseh characteristic. He believed it was wrong to murder helpless captives and was not afraid to tell others.” (Poling Sr, 37)

This resonated with me because of how open Tecumseh was with his beliefs. After being raised during a time of massive war and battles, he fought for the good of his people, not for revenge. This was stated after witnessing the savage taunts each side would do in battle, specifically shoving each other’s faces in dirt and scalping the enemies’ heads, dead or alive. He had never been afraid of such doings, but was always strongly against them, which allowed for him to stand out.

Although Tecumseh was a brave, intelligent, powerful warrior, he did not fall victim to the demeaning acts of war. Despite his values being different at the time, he did his best to remain peaceful and avoid unintentional negative interactions. I believe that his overall complexion helped shape the Canadian identity, instead focusing on what benefits the majority rather than the individual. We notice that there is a kind and understanding aspect of Canada’s identity, focusing around stereotypes like saying “sorry” too often. Although this may not be fully true, Tecumseh did show a caring and respectful attitude towards all kinds of people, altering the values and beliefs Canada holds today.

“They were all brothers in a family of oppressed people.” (Poling Sr, 41)

After having to fight battle after battle, Tecumseh’s tribe began making allies, specifically with a group of savage, fierce, and powerful people called the Chickamaugas. Although the Chickamaugas tribe was not ideal to join forces with, due to their violent and aggressive nature, Tecumseh new that they would have to stand together as one united group in order to succeed. He understood the risks involved but decided to unite for the greater good of each other’s tribes and families. Not only was the dedication Tecumseh had for his people courageous, but his acceptance of people other than himself was inspiring and different from the values during his time.

Mentioned earlier, Tecumseh understood the risks involved with siding with the Chickamaugas but continued for the greater good of everyone like him, those under the pressure of losing their homes and identity. He was accepting of everyone, much like the way Canada strives to be to this day.

“They came across a band of Indians that included Tecumseh, who told them his people were not involved in the killing and were keeping the peace. He agreed to travel to Chillicothe to speak to a gathering of settlers in hopes of allaying their fear.” (Poling Sr, 61)

After a false alarm nearly beginning another battle occurred, Tecumseh spoke at a meeting with different tribes to maintain the peace. He gained much respect from the different warriors, building a better reputation. However, in the same year a settler named Thomas Herrod was killed and scalped near his own house, not far from the region where Tecumseh was born. After confronting Tecumseh and his tribe, Tecumseh stated that he would speak to this issue and calm them down, ensuring he was not involved. This scenario was different from prior, Tecumseh speaking to not tribes, but frightened citizens afraid of people like him. After his speech, he had illustrated a new image of himself for his enemies. He was seen as an “intelligent man of compassion and peace; someone with the bearing and speaking talent to make others listen and understand” (Poling Sr, 61). It was intriguing to see how Tecumseh was able to change their perspectives on him with such ease, gaining respect and admiration from the unlikeliest of peoples.

I believe that Tecumseh’s values for peace reflect a major part of Canadian identity today. When accused of committing a terrible, savage deed, he maintained his cool and relaxing attitude and offered to keep the peace. His ability to open his enemies’ eyes to new ideas is much like Canada providing the world with new ideas regarding the acceptance of all nations, as well as other ideas as a whole. Tecumseh shows a large Canadian value at an early time, the want to avoid battles and to instead provide clarity and acceptance.

 “Generosity was another attribute highly prized among the Shawnee and other Indian communities. Sharing was an important part in Indian life.” (Poling Sr, 65)

Tecumseh gave up plenty of his own in order to aid his people. Although there were massive battles raging and wars to be fought, he remained kind and caring towards his own at all times. He made sure he was always sharing what he had, and this idea resonated with me while reading. His selflessness was a big factor playing into his powerful leadership, and his overall personality.

This idea of sharing with the majority and avoiding greed should be a large value everywhere, especially Canada. Although it may not always be true, I believe that most of Canadians intend to fight for the greater good of everyone, sharing and caring for each other along the way. In my opinion, Canadian leaders should somewhat follow the values of Indian tribe leaders, the most respected ones taking care of the elderly and the sick, making sure everyone has a chance to survive and live life.

 

Theme: Individuals who value the needs of the few are often able to persuade the minds of the many.

Tecumseh was a strong leader who fought for his tribe’s lifestyle, as well as cared for the weak and little. As time went on, his character was shaped by his surroundings, specifically watching the death and pain inflicted on those like him. Although most regarded him as a savage Indian leader, he always presented himself with dignity and wisdom, illustrating a new image of himself to those opposed to him. He valued acceptance and peace, not torture and taunting, and was able to lead large groups to fight for what they believed in, their land and individuality.

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