Oct. 5 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of a North American hero and leader. Tecumseh (1768-1813) was killed in action at the Battle of the Thames, also known as the Battle of Moraviantown, near what is now the city of Chatham, by American troops. His was a life, if ever there was one, lived on the heroic scale. Tecumseh, whose name can be translated as "panther in the sky," was a Shawnee born in Ohio. His vision was of a pan-Indian alliance that would cut across traditional tribalism and for a new territory in the Ohio, Indiana and Michigan region that would form a new Indian nation. Tall and handsome, he was a leader but never really a chief of his own people. He disputed the chiefs' authority to sell lands to the Americans, asking whether it was also possible to sell the air.
“The thing about Tecumseh is that he’s still as charismatic as he was. Even 200 years later, he’s still exerting that charisma beyond the grave.”
“Tecumseh had a certain grandeur,” said Charlene Houle, tourism development officer for the city of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, where the Battle of the Thames was fought 200 years ago. “He united all those people under him, thousands of people. He was one of those charismatic leaders who had a vision and worked to get it.”&l
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