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A New Nation

Tecumseh and the Native American Alliance

Tecumseh and the Native American Alliance
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.74

     challenging words:    solidify, reclaim, shaman, military, battlefield, analogy, alliance, threat, born, opening, chief, persuade, resort, goal, government, present
     content words:    Panther Passing Across, Great Spirit, Daniel Boone, Indian Territory, Great Lakes, William Henry Harrison, Indiana Territory, Benjamin Harrison, Native Americans, Henry Harrison

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Tecumseh and the Native American Alliance
By Jane Runyon

1     Tecumseh was born into the Shawnee tribe in the spring of 1768. His father was a chief of the tribe which made its home in what is now Ohio. Just as he was born, a brilliant shooting star could be seen overhead by his father. The chief believed that this was a sign of good fortune. The baby was given the Shawnee name Tekamthi which means "The Panther Passing Across." They believed that a shooting star was their Great Spirit in the form of a panther. Tekamthi had a brother called Tenskwatawa. As they grew older, Tenskwatawa became a religious leader of the tribe called a shaman (SHAY mun). His people called him a prophet. Tekamthi grew to be a strong and respected leader of the Shawnee people. Tekamthi learned English from a white boy who was adopted into the tribe. He met white people like Daniel Boone. He learned to respect white men like Boone. He also learned to hate white men. His father was killed while fighting with the white men to keep the Shawnee land. His mother and other members of the tribe had been forced to flee their home in Ohio and move farther west. The white men were moving into Indian Territory and forcing the natives out.
2     The white men called Tekamthi, Tecumseh. Tecumseh realized that his small tribe would not stand a chance in keeping the white men from taking their land. He traveled from the shores of the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico trying to unite the different tribes whose land was in danger. He used an analogy to persuade the people he met. He explained to them that a single strand of hair was easy to break. But if they were to take their hair and braid it, that braid would be almost impossible to break. The different tribes must form that braid. Tecumseh believed that violence and fighting were only the last resort. It was his goal to unite his people and, in a peaceful way, stop the white men from taking their land. If that didn't work, then they were willing to fight.
3     Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, started their own village in what is now the northern part of Indiana. They named their village Prophetstown. Natives from many tribes gathered in Prophetstown to solidify their alliance.

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