Friday, August 07, 2009

Shawnee Prophet's Town


Tecumseh and his brother established this town just outside of Greene Ville as a place of unity for the tribes worried about the white settlers. This town existed from 1805 to 1808. This spot is now a part of the Shawnee Nature Center. Eventually Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa were asked to move Prophet Town to a place in Indiana. They moved, but the town was burned during the Battle of Tippacanoe.
Again, I rely on Wikipedia for information to share:
Because his father died before he was born and because his mother left his family shortly after, Lalawethika grew up without parents. Lalawethika was then at the mercy of his siblings to teach him the Shawnee ways. Because he was not close with his older sister or older brother, he never learned how to successfully hunt or to be a good warrior, which are essential roles for a Shawnee man. He accidentally lost an eye in a hunting accident. His poor looks and braggart personality also did not win him many friends. As a result, Lalawethika grew up to be the laughing-stock of his community and he turned to alcohol.

Based on Lalawethika's development, it seemed that Lalawethika would never make a contribution to his tribe. However, that changed when Lalawethika was put in trance by the Master of Life. In May 1805, he experienced the first of several visions. He had a taste for whiskey, and in one of his alcoholic stupors he had a vision. After he awoke he began preaching and became a religious leader, and taught that the white Americans were children of the Great Serpent, the source of evil in the world. He also conducted witch hunts against Christian Indians. He forbade his people to use European foods, clothing, manufactured goods and alcohol. He changed his name to Tenskwatawa (The Open Door or One With Open Mouth). In 1808 Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh moved their followers to a new village called Prophetstown (Tippecanoe), near the present-day town of Battle Ground, near the juncture of the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers in Indiana.
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