Tecumseh is regarded by most historians as the most important and revered of the Shawnee War Chiefs of the latter 18th and early 19th centuries. He is best known for organizing the native tribes of the early American frontier into a powerful fighting force to oppose pioneer expansion and military confiscation of their land and sacred Indian hunting grounds.
Tecumseh was a strong and capable Shawnee leader. He was an intelligent, gentle, and compassionate man with a commanding physical stature and a highly notable strength of character. An inspiring warrior and a natural leader, his speeches before his enemies and the various other tribes were passionate, eloquent, and convincing.
Initially, Tecumseh's philosophy was to promote peace and to live amicably with his new white neighbors, sharing the bounty of the land and its many resources. But that philosophy eventually changed, as the pioneers, backed by the United States military, continued to encroach into and destroy ever increasing tracts of native hunting grounds.
After repeated skirmishes with the pioneers and U.S. military forces (some deadly) over violated treaties, Tecumseh began to distrust the word of the Americans, who continued to confiscate more and more land.
While Tecumseh was the revered Shawnee War Chief during this period, his younger brother, Tenskwatawa, also known as “The Prophet”, was an influential Shawnee spiritual leader with a large number of loyal followers from dozens of tribes throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Canada, and other areas.
However, due to repeated broken promises and on-going land confiscations on the part of the U.S. government, Tecumseh never accepted the validity of the Treaty of Fort Greene Ville, and refused to take part in the signing ceremony. Tecumseh continued to lead his multi tribal coalition into battle against American military forces, and was eventually killed in action at the Battle of the Thames in Canada on October 5, 1813.
A 2nd “Treaty of Fort Greene Ville” was initiated and signed with the major tribes in 1814 by General William Henry Harrison, following his glaring breaking of the 1st treaty at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1813.
The Shawnees worshipped a benevolent great spirit known as Weshemoneto, which roughly translates to the "Master of Life". The Shawnees believed that the Creator furnished them with plants, animals, forces of nature, and all other essentials they needed for their earthly existence. Tecumseh believed that all land, and that which grew in it or upon it, belonged to the Master of Life, and that no man, Native or White, could own it. Tecumseh and the Shawnees felt passionately that the closer one lived to nature, the closer one was to the Master of Life. They believed that everything needed to foster good health and to treat illness had been supplied by their Creator, and was to be found in nature.
In like fashion, we also believe that the answers to the restoration of health are to be found in nature. We believe that our Creator provided us with all manner of herbs, plants, natural medicines, and forces of nature for our use in overcoming disease and restoring health.
We salute the great man and Shawnee Chief known as Tecumseh, and seek to honor him by proudly adopting his name in service to all mankind.
The Tecumseh Nutrition Center is located in Greenville, Ohio, very near the original site where Tecumseh himself lived and hunted.