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Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds and the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?
At first they only asked for land sufficient for a wigwam; now, nothing will satisfy them but the whole of our hunting grounds from the rising to the setting sun.
Listen to the voice of duty, of honor, of nature and of your endangered country. Let us form one body, one heart, and defend to the last warrior our country, our homes, our liberty, and the graves of our fathers.

Tecumseh (March 17685 October 1813), was a celebrated Native American Shawnee warrior and chief. He was known as a strong and eloquent orator and promoter of tribal unity, who led his people to make significant sacrifices in their attempts to repel the Americans from Native American lands. Tecumseh and his confederacy fought the United States during Tecumseh's War, at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and as allies with Great Britain, in the War of 1812. He envisioned the establishment of an independent Native American nation east of the Mississippi River under British protection. Since his death Tecumseh has become an iconic folk hero in American, Indigenous, and Canadian history.


  • The whites have driven us from the sea to the lakes. We can go no further... unless every tribe unanimously combines to give a check to the ambition and avarice of the whites they will soon conquer us apart and disunited and we will be driven from our native country and scattered as autumn leaves before the wind.
  • The white men aren't friends to the Indians... At first they only asked for land sufficient for a wigwam; now, nothing will satisfy them but the whole of our hunting grounds from the rising to the setting sun.

Quotes about Tecumseh[edit]

  • I found some extraordinary characters. He who attracted most my attention was a Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, brother to the Prophet, who for the last two years has carried on contrary to our remonstrances an active warfare against the United States. A more sagacious or more gallant warrior does not, I believe, exist. He was the admiration of every one who conversed with him.
    • British Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, as quoted in History of the United States of America (1890) by Henry Adams, Vol. 6, p. 329
  • It is difficult to feel greatness after a lapse of 200 years, but Tecumseh truly seems admirable. He was noble in his speech and behavior, adamant in his opposition to U.S. expansion, farsighted in his policies, brave in battle, yet merciful and protective toward captives.
    • Devin Bent in Tecumseh: A Brief Biography
  • If it were not for the vicinity of the United States, he would perhaps be the founder of an empire that would rival in glory Mexico or Peru. No difficulties deter him. For four years he has been in constant motion. You see him today on the Wabash, and in a short time hear of him on the shores of Lake Erie or Michigan, or on the banks of the Mississippi, and wherever he goes he makes an impression favorable to his purpose.


  • So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
    • As quoted in A Sourcebook for Earth's Community of Religions (1995) by Joel Diederik Beversluis; but also ascribed to some of the Wabasha chiefs, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Wovoka, according to Ernest Thompson Seton, The Gospel of the Red Man: An Indian Bible, San Diego, The Book Tree, 2006, p. 60
  • When the legends die, the dreams end; there is no more greatness.
    • Quoted as a statement of Tecumseh in Inspire! : What Great Leaders Do (2004) by Lance H. K. Secretan, p. 67; but also often quoted as an anonymous Shawnee proverb, as in The Soul Would Have No Rainbow If The Eyes Had No Tears (1994) by Guy A. Zona, p. 45 ISBN 978-1-58509-276-5

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