|Dundurn Press, Toronto 2009|
Tecumseh tried both diplomacy and battle to preserve his Ohio Valley homelands. He finally realized that neither could stop the American advancement, and he turned to the British in Canada for help as Britain and America began the War of 1812.
He and Isaac Brock, British general and Canadian hero, captured Detroit early in the war and historians believe they would have gone on to more impressive battles had Brock not fallen at Queenston Heights in 1813. Without Brock, Tecumseh was burdened with British commanders less brilliant and less aggressive than Brock.
He and other British commanders did achieve some success, notably against the Americans in the woods at Fort Meigs, Ohio, in May 1813. However, when the Americans won the decisive Battle of Lake Erie later that summer, the door to Canada was opened. Chased by his nemesis William Henry Harrison, Tecumseh and the British retreated up the Thames River in southwestern Ontario and made a final stand at the Battle of Moraviantown. Tecumseh was killed in the battle on October 5, 1813. . Tecumseh’s death marked the end of First Nations resistance to American expansion south of the Great Lakes.
Tecumseh was a great leader and his remarkable life left an indelible mark on the history of both Canada and the United States. The story of his struggle to preserve a vanishing culture is one that remains relevant today.
One of the greatest tributes to Tecumseh came from his enemy Harrison. Harrison, who later became president of the U.S. called Tecumseh an “uncommon genius” who in another place, another time, could have built an empire.