I remember as a child heading off to the cinema and being thrilled by the latest cowboy and Indian movies. I was brought up on a diet of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood classics and looked forward to the timely arrival of the seventh cavalry who would inevitably save the day late in the film.
The Native Americans were inevitably portrayed as cruel and primitive and cast as the bad guys who stood in the way of westward expansion and progress. In the Sleepwalker Legacy I have made some attempt to redress the balance and highlight their plight without underplaying the brutality of some of the encounters in which these noble warriors were involved in the 1800s.
In conducting my research into the Anglo American war of 1812, I was astounded at the massive role played by Tecumseh and his pan-tribal confederation of Native Americans in securing the independence of (Upper) Canada after the unsuccessful invasion by American troops.
He won the battle of Detroit in 1812 and was offered the rank of brigadier general in the British army. As a reward for the support of the Indian confederacy the British wished to create a large “neutral” Indian state that would cover much of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. It was the zenith of Native American influence and power. Unfortunately for the confederation the British, worn out by the long Napoleonic wars were unable to deliver these aims at the 1814 peace conference in Ghent. This failure proved disastrous for the tribesmen and over the next eighty years they lost virtually all of their ancestral lands to the white settlers and were reduced to scratching a living on poor quality tribal reservations.
Tecumseh never had a daughter, but if he had I would like to think that my character Nova the warrior princess would have made him proud. Nova is the love interest for the main character George Napier and a gifted female warrior. Her tragic fictional life is supposed to symbolise the plight of her proud warrior people as their lands were stripped from them and their way of life destroyed.
Tecumseh was not just a heroic warrior, he was a gifted orator and we are lucky that many of his fine words were recorded. Two hundred years later they resonate through time and evoke a feeling of awe in those that read them. I will let Tecumseh finish this posting for me and I hope you find them an inspiring way to live your life:
“Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart…Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and in the service of your people…”
“Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself…”
“When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose lives are filled with the fear of death, so that when time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”