Moraviantown, Ontario. October 5, 2013 marked two centuries (twenty decades) since Tecumseh (my Shawnee Grandma Bessie’s pronunciation was Tecumthé) fell in battle near the Thames River, and passed to the spirit world. His remarkable life began under the sign of a great comet in 1768, and he worked tirelessly to unify all Indian nations in a great confederacy of nations, in common cause against a common colonizing foe.
He is commonly known as a “warrior,” and is often wrongly called a “war chief.” He was fierce and fearless in battle, yet he was also a person of great heart and compassion. He was a warrior because he experienced to the core of his being the great wrongs committed by the white Christians against our nations and peoples. From a young age he was committed to fighting against the colonizers who were waging ceaseless war against our nations as a result of their greed and religious zealotry. He experienced first- hand their desire to destroy us and take over all our valuable lands and resources, worth trillions of dollars in their monetary terms.
Today we honor Tecumseh’s great Life, and his vision of unified Indian nations all across and throughout Great Turtle Island. A few of the words attributed to him state: “Oh that I could make the destiny of my People as great as the conceptions of my mind when I think of the spirit of the universe. I would not then come to Governor Harrison and ask him to tear up the treaty [of Greenville], but I would say to him: ‘Sir, you have the liberty to return to your own country.’”
Tecumseh envisioned us having our own country, separate from the British Empire or the American Empire, a country of free and independent nations premised on our original free existence, gifted to us by the Creator. He believed we should not be made to live on our knees in a condition and predicament of indignity beneath the yoke of the Americans. He considered it to be our Creator-given right to exist free on our own terms and to uphold and maintain our own way of life consistent with the fundamental and Life-Giving laws of Creation.
Ultimately Tecumseh was betrayed by the British crown, and killed by the Americans and by the Freemasons, who had conspired in the name of “the AMERICAN EMPIRE” and the Society of the Cincinnati to take over the entire Ohio Valley and dispossess our nations and peoples. The Federal Writer’s project in the 1930s accurately named the Old Northwest Territory “the First Colony of the United States.” That is how my Shawnee and Lenape ancestral homelands ended up becoming part of the first colony of the American Empire.
The American Empire was envisioned by Freemason George Washington and others, such as Freemason John Marshall, who served under Washington during the Revolutionary War and later became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Other important Freemasons who worked steadfastly against our Original Nations (to name just a few) include Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, Arthur St. Clair, “Mad” Anthony Wayne, Josiah Harmer, Rufus Putnam, and many many more. I have personally seen George Washington’s Mason Apron in Union Lodge #1 in Marietta, Ohio, and I have seen John Marshall’s Masonic apron hanging in a case behind his statue in the U.S. Supreme Court building, from which I was once ejected for asking about the Christian basis of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Johnson v. M’Intosh written by Chief Justice John Marshall.
Marshall primarily served the vision of the American Empire through his Johnson ruling, and its expression of the “right of discovery,” which has been used on numerous occasions by the courts of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Marshall wrote and delivered that decision for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1823, some nine years and four months after Tecumseh’s death. By means of that decision, Marshall, for the Supreme Court, constructed the artful fiction that our rights to complete sovereignty as independent nations had been “diminished” by a religiously-premised Christian “right of discovery.”
Drawing inferences from various royal charters during the days of Western Christendom, the Supreme Court said the first “Christian people” to “discover” lands inhabited by “natives, who were heathens” (emphasis added), had the right to assume an absolute and ultimate dominion over the lands, territories, waters and other resources of the non-Christians. Those first Christian people had, the Court claimed, the right to grant the soil to other non-Indians even while the lands were still in the possession of the Indians.
During his life-long and steadfast commitment to resist the encroachment of the Americans, Tecumseh was the one major impediment to the momentum of the American empire. Decadence is a word used to describe the tell-tale signs of a society in the throes of decay, now in rapid social, economic, and psychological decline. No word better describes the bankruptcy of the American Empire at this time than decadence.
We’re talking, then, about an empire built on the destruction and blood of our ancestors, an empire which has violated and continues to violate the fundamental and ecological laws of Great Turtle Island, and this hemisphere. Such a political enterprise conducting itself in violation of our Original Laws, will not long endure. It has had an extremely short life in comparison with the thousands and thousands of years that our nations have existed here. Any society, such as the so-called “Western society,” that violates the laws of nature with seeming impunity will ultimately pay the price for embracing a path of death, and thereby defying the Laws of Life in the process.
The American dream of riches and wealth at the expense of the liberty of our original nations and peoples, and at the expense of the natural systems of Life on Mother Earth, is a trajectory doomed to ultimate failure. It has caused a havoc from which we may not soon recover. I fear that the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima-Daiichi will be the ultimate measure of the scale of destruction that has resulted from the hubris of the model of imperial-disaster capitalism (thank you Naomi Klein) and the American empire that Tecumseh died fighting. His vision of Life lives on. It is a vision of all our originally free nations unified in common cause on behalf of and ceremonially reaffirming the Fundamental Laws of Life and Mother Earth.
Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape) is co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, and author of Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery.