The Tecumseh Stone, Fort Malden National Historic Park, Amherstburg
Shawnee Chief Tecumseh (c. 1768 - 1813) stood on this stone to deliver a final address to the British in 1813. It is a scathing rebuke:
Father, listen . . . You always told us to remain here and take care of our lands. It made our hearts glad to hear that was your wish; our great Father the King is the head, and you represent him. You always told us you would never draw your foot off the British ground; But now Father we see you drawing back, and we are sorry to see our father doing so without seeing the enemy. We must compare our Father’s conduct to a fat animal that carries its tail upon its back, but when affrighted drops its tail between its legs and runs off.
You have got the arms and ammunition which our great Father sent for his red children. If you have any idea of going away, give them to us and you may go and welcome. For us, our lives are in the hands of the Great Spirit; we are determined to defend our lands, and if it be his will we will leave our bones upon them.
Tecumseh was a respected leader among the First Nations and had participated in the struggle to preserve the Ohio Valley against American encroachment and weld the diverse North American tribes into a large confederacy. During the War of 1812, he allied his forces with those of the British and Upper Canadians. Along with General Isaac Brock he had captured Detroit in 1812. The next year he won a decisive victory against the Americans at Fort Meigs (1813). Following the defeat of the British fleet on Lake Erie, the British retreated from the Detroit front. Tecumseh was killed fighting with his people at the follow-up Battle of Moraviantown, October 1813, after the British had broken and fled.
In addition to this stone, he is honoured by a figure “The Dying Tecumseh” sculpted from a ton of white marble, now in the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.
(portrait): Parks Canada