Friday, October 29
I find it hard to believe that I am now - and have been since entering Indiana - in Eastern Standard Time. This means that I am three hours different from my Oregon home and thus making calls and contact requires a little more planning. It is also represents the last time change of my journey.
The Indiana terrain started to change east of Monticello. It has become more woodsy with slightly rolling hills. Though it was chilly - it was sunny and made for a beautiful autumn walk.
As I crossed the Tippecanoe River my thoughts were of Tecumseh and his brother, known to the Whites as "The Prophet." In the early 1800's these Shawnee brothers were responsible for what has become known as the "Red Stick Confederacy." The Indians historically fought each other as traditional enemies which the United States always plied to its own advantage. Tecumseh, after a vision, began a mission to unite the tribes - asking them to put aside their past grievances and to join forces against the Americans. It was only in this way that Indian People had any hope for saving their homelands from the steady encroachment of the settlers. Tecumseh traveled unafraid into hostile enemy camps and one by one, convinced most tribes to enter a league of friendship and to turn their hostilities toward the Americans. At a future appointed time, the Indians were to strike in unison. This very real confederacy represented the biggest Indian threat since Pontiac's Uprising of the 1760's and as such, William Henry Harrison decided to attack and destroy the main Shawnee encampment while Tecumseh was away. The Indians were camped on the Tippecanoe River just north of present day Lafayette, Indiana. As a result of this battle/slaughter Harrison picked up the "Tippecanoe" nickname and it will later help propel him to the White House with one of the first memorable American campaign slogans - "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." I seem to remember that there is a play about Tecumseh performed annually in Chillicothe, Ohio but I do not remember the name. Anyway, the overall point is that I wish I could have visited the battlefield site, but as I am walking - it was too far away.
Note: Isn't it interesting that the great Ottawa leader - Pontiac, has been reduced to most Americans as a brand of car; and that the great Shawnee - Tecumseh, is better known as a company that makes lawn mowers?