Famous Native Americans



Tecumseh was a Shawnee Indian. The Shawnee Nation was the largest group of tribes in Ohio. Tecumseh's father Puckeshinwa was a Shawnee Chief.

The settlers in western Virginia were claiming that the Shawnee land belonged to them, so the Shawnee began to fight the settlers. Puckeshinwa was killed during the fighting.

Cheeseekau was Tecumseh's oldest brother. He taught Tecumseh how to be a good woodsman, hunter, and warrior. When Tecumseh was 15 he saw his village burn down. After the village burned Tecumseh's mother took his small brother and sisters to a safe home. Tecumseh and his brother Cheeseekau went to Tennessee to help the Cherokee defend their land. Cheeseekau was killed in battle.

Tecumseh became a chief and led the warriors into many fights with the settlers and soldiers. In the spring of 1795 twelve Chiefs signed a peace treaty giving up a large piece of land to the Americans. After the treaty was signed Tecumseh moved just west of the treaty line with his warriors.


Tecumseh had a dream of uniting all the Indians from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes into one Indian Nation. Tenskwatawa, Tecumseh's younger brother, joined him in his dream of peace. Tenskwatawa believed the Great Spirit had given him magic powers and that he could tell the future. Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa built a large Indian village and called it Tippecanoe.

William Henry Harrison was the governor of the Indian Territory. Harrison called a great council at Fort Wayne and asked many poor, old Chiefs to sign a treaty. The treaty gave away three million acres of land for very little money. Tecumseh was angry over the treaty. He asked to meet with Harrison at Vincennes. Tecumseh told Harrison that the treaties were only useless pieces of paper and that the Great Spirit had given the land to the Indians. Harrison told his men to find any excuse to burn down the village of Tecumseh.

Late in 1811 Harrison led one thousand men to attack Tippecanoe. Tenekwatawa told the Indians that his magic powers would protect them from the gunpowder. Many Indians died in the battle.

In 1812 the English and the Americans began to fight. Tecumseh led 32 tribes to help the English fight the Bluecoats and the American settlers.  At Fort Detroit Tecumseh had the Indians run in and out of the woods three times yelling and making cries so that it looked like he had many more men. The soldiers at the fort surrendered.

General Harrison built a small fort on the Maumee River in Ohio. There he made plans to take back Fort Detroit. General Harrison would not fight Tecumseh and English General Proctor when they surrounded the fort because he knew he had more troops coming. When the battle took place the Indians won the fight for the English. General Proctor ordered the English and the Indians to move north to Fort Malden close to Lake Erie.

On September 10, 1813 a naval battle took place on Lake Erie. After the battle the English fleet was destroyed. General Proctor took his men and ran into Canada. Tecumseh and the Indians went with General Proctor into Canada.  Tecumseh begged General Proctor to turn around and fight the Americans. After General Proctor would not fight, the Indians decided to fight Harrison without the help of the English.

On October 5, 1813 Tecumseh fought Harrison. Tecumseh was killed during the battle. Tecumseh's dream of a large Indian Nation died with him.