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29 October 2006



Kansas Heritage Group for Many Good Kansas Links  http://www.kansasheritage.org/

The Shawnee Indians in Kansas (a very brief account)

This folder was created house miscellaneous items pertaining to Kansas that don't seem to fit anywhere else. Here's a start, anyway. Editor

W = Lands used in common by 8 & 9

                                          MAP OF THE WYANDOT PURCHASE

The shows the land purchased by the Wyandot from the Delaware. Note the Delaware Reservation to the West. (From the Proceedings and Collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society  http://www.rootsweb.com/~neresour/OLLibrary/Walker/wlkr001.html

See The Emigrant Tribes by Larry Hancks:  http://www.wyandot.org/emigrant.htm



The Shawnee and the Delaware had a close relationship beginning with the days that they occupied lands in the present state of Ohio. A brief history of the Shawnee will be entered here. In the article on Anna (Marshall) Grinter we show an 1897 photograph in which the Shawnee Blue Jacket is seated with Anne. The brief caption said that they were about to seek the grave of the Shawnee Prophet, Tenskwatawa.

From the Encyclopedia of North American Indians we learn that he was one of a set of triplets born at Old Piqua, on the Mad Rive4 in western Ohio.

 His mother was Methoataske (Turtle Laying Its Eggs), a Creek woman. His father, Puckeshinewa, a Shawnee war chief, was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant prior to the triplets' birth. The triplets were the youngest siblings in a large family (they had at least six older brothers and sisters), and one of the triplets died in infancy. The other triplet, Kumskaukau, lived at least until 1807.

In 1779 Methoataske left Ohio. The two remaining triplets and Tecumseh, a brother born in 1768, were left in the care of Tecumapease, an older, married sister. Their upbringing also was supervised by Chiksika, a brother in his late teens. Both Tecumapease and Chiksika favored Tecumseh, an athletic youth who excelled at the contests and games popular among Shawnee boys. In contrast, the boy who would become the Prophet was an awkward, corpulent youth who accidentally gouged out his own right eye while fumbling with an arrow. Because he often boasted and complained, he was called Lalawethika (the Noisemaker), a name he disliked. He married in his teens, but was unskilled as a hunter and became an alcoholic. He did not participate in the Indian victories over Josiah Harmar (1790) or Arthur St. Clair (1791), but he did join a war party of Shawnees led by Tecumseh who fought at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Following the Treaty of Greenville (1795) he lived with a band of Shawnees led by Tecumseh who resided at several locations in western Ohio and eastern Indiana. In 1798 they moved to the White River near Anderson, Indiana, where Lalawethika, still an alcoholic, unsuccessfully attempted to assume a role as a healer and shaman.

In the decade following the Treaty of Greenville socioeconomic conditions among the Shawnees and neighboring tribes deteriorated. Game and fur-bearing animals declined, while frontiersmen encroached upon Indian land, poaching the few remaining animals and establishing new settlements. White juries protected Americans accused of crimes against tribes people while systematically convicting Indians. Meanwhile, many Indian people contracted new diseases for which they had no immunity. Under considerable stress, tribal communities were plagued with apathy and dysfunction, and alcoholism increased. Considerably alarmed, many Shawnees believed that their troubles were caused by witches spreading chaos in the Shawnee world.

During April 1805, in the midst of this crisis, Lalawethika underwent a religious experience in which he appeared to fall into a trance so deep that his family at first believed him to be dead. After a few hours he recovered and informed his neighbors that he had died, had been taken to a location overlooking heaven and hell, and had been shown how the Shawnees could improve their situation. He stated that although Indians had been fashioned by the Creator, Americans were the children of the the Great Serpent, the source of evil in the world. Aided by witches (Indians who accepted American cultural values), the Americans had spread chaos and disorder. In consequence, he championed a new religious revitalization, urging the Shawnees and other Indians to minimize their contact with the Americans. He admonished tribespeople to relinquish American food and clothing, most manufactured goods, and alcohol. Firearms could be used for defense, but game should be hunted with bows and arrows. If Indians followed such doctrines, their dead relatives would return to life and game would reappear in the forests; if they refused, they would be condemned to a fiery hell reminiscent of Christian doctrines. He also announced that thenceforward he should be known as Tenskwatawa (the Open Door), a name befitting his new role as a prophet.

Tenskwatawa's teachings found many adherents among the Shawnees and neighboring tribes, particularly after he successfully predicted an eclipse of the sun in June 1806. By 1807 so many Indians had traveled to his village near Greenville, in western Ohio, that they exhausted food supplies in the region. White officials became alarmed at this influx, and in 1808 the Prophet led his followers to Prophetstown, a new village near the juncture of the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers, near modern Lafayette, Indiana.

In 1809, after the Treaty of Fort Wayne, Tecumseh attempted to transform the religious movement into a centralized political alliance designed to retain the remaining Indian lands in the West. From Prophetstown Tecumseh traveled throughout the Midwest. In November 1811, while Tecumseh was recruiting allies in the South, William Henry Harrison, the governor of Indiana Territory, led an expedition against Prophetstown. Forced to protect his village, Tenskwatawa promised his followers that they would be immune from American firearms and instructed them to attack Harrison's camp. In the resulting conflict, the Battle of the Tippecanoe, the Indian attack was repulsed. Although both sides suffered losses, the Prophet's influence was broken. When Tecumseh returned from the South in January 1812 he assumed sole command of the Indian alliance

Never a warrior, the Prophet took little part in the War of 1812. In December 1812 he fled to Canada, then accompanied Tecumseh back to northern Indiana. In the following spring they led a large party of western warriors to the Detroit region. The Prophet accompanied the British and Indian forces that unsuccessfully besieged Fort Meigs during May 1813, but he took no part in the fighting. On October 5, 1813, he was present at the Battle of the Thames, but he fled with the British when the battle started. Tecumseh was killed in the battle.

Following the War of 1812, the Prophet remained in Canada for ten years, unsuccessfully attempting to regain a position of leadership. In 1825, at the invitation of Lewis Cass, the governor of Michigan Territory, he returned to the United States and used his limited influence to promote Indian removal. One year later he accompanied a party of Shawnees from Ohio who were traveling via St. Louis to Kansas. The Prophet settled at the site of modern-day Kansas City, Kansas, where he posed for the artist George Catlin in the autumn of 1832. He died there four years later, in November 1836.

The Encyclopedia of North American Indians was published by the Houghton-Mifflin Company of Boston and New York, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, New York, 10003. Encyclopedia of North American Indians / Frederick E. Hoxie, editor. p. cm. Includes index. 1. Indians of North America—Encyclopedias. I. Hoxie, Frederick E. E76.2.E53 1996 970.004'97'003—dc20 96-21411 CIP Book design by Anne Palms Chalmers (Potawatomi ancestry). ISBN 0-395-66921-9. We highly recommend this work to our readers.


Times New Roman 14 point. Copy 6 December 2004. Photo check A. TH