Saturday, June 11, 2016

Documentary Review: We Shall Remain: Tecumseh's Vision, episode 2

PBS Picture
This is the second episode in a five-part Native American PBS series presented on "American Experience."  It was directed by Ric Burns and Chris Eyre.  It using interviews, maps and historical reenactment.  Here we see Tecumseh's vision.  Tecumseh was a leader among the Shawnee.  He never signed a peace treaty with the Americans, but others did which would effect the Shawnee Territory.  He saw it slowly sliced away.  He also saw disease and hunger among his people. However he also saw the might of the Americans, and knew that the Shawnee could not face them alone.  His vision was to form a great Pan American Indian alliance, and to force the Americans to create an Indian Nation with recognized territory.  His brother Tenskwatawa had been less than an honorable man.  He too was sick.  However he recovered, saying he had seen a vision.  Tenskwatawa had seen that the Native People needed to avoid white ways, white clothing and especially alcohol.  Tecumseh saw this as a means to bring people together.  His brother established a following, and Tecumseh provided the leadership.  When his brother successfully predicted an eclipse, his influence greatly increased.  With this new energy, and people of over 20 tribes behind him, Tecumseh confronted the local American leader, William Henry Harrison.  Tecumseh confronted him as one speaking for all the Native American people, that they wanted their property back,which had been illegally sold by others who had no right to sell the property.  Of course these negotiations ended poorly.  Tecumseh traveled south to gain more support from the Creek and the Cherokee.  He also sought British support.  In the mean time Harrison attacked Prophetstown.  Tenskwatawa was in charge, and predicted victory.  Tecumseh had warned him not to be drawn into battle, however some of the warriors insisted they attack Harrison.  they did not have enough warriors nor ammunition to route the 1000 men army harrison had with him.  The abandoned Prophetstown and scattered in the end, both sides having serious losses.  Although the men of Tecumseh's alliance were scattered, they continued the fight.  When tecumseh returned they reorganized.  However it wasn't until they were joined by the British, in the War of 1812, that they alliance looked like it might be successful.  Tecumseh worked well with General Isaac Brock.  Tecumseh provided the needed man power, and Brock the ammunition and support.  Together they had some success, capturing the Fort of Detroit.  Tecumseh proved himself as a strategist and a warrior.  However Brock was killed, and his replacement, Henry Proctor left something to be desired.  He was much less willing to fight.  When Tecumseh's old nemesis headed into the fray with a large army, the British abandoned the field.  Tecumseh gave a mighty speech to him, asking him that if they abandoned the field he leave weapons for his people, because they intended to fight.  They were fighting for their lands.  Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of Thames.

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