November 09, 2008

Tippecanoe and Tecumseh too

Monument's 100th anniversary draws mixed response to Battle of TippecanoeEarlier that afternoon, Osborne performed a military tribute to the fallen soldiers of the Battle of Tippecanoe as part of a ceremony to honor the 100th anniversary of the monument, which was originally dedicated Nov. 7, 1908.

The re-enacted dedication, held at the Tippecanoe Battlefield Park in Battle Ground, featured live patriotic music and speeches given by re-enactors.

The event was called a celebration, but some did not find it that way.

Glenna J. Wallace, the chief of the Eastern Shawnee tribe of Oklahoma, was invited to attend the re-enactment.

"My perspective is mixed," she said. "They were celebrating the 1908 addition of the monument and the monument seemed to be erected to commemorate the winners.

"But my walking these grounds is probably different than somebody else walking these grounds," she said. "I'm walking the grounds of unfulfilled dreams and visions not turned into reality."

She said she couldn't help but look at the monument and notice that the number of American lives lost read 37 but the Indian loss read unknown.
Comment:  This celebration is typically American. A monument to the "winners" of a battle to destroy Indian resistance and unity. A reenactment of a battle to further Manifest Destiny at the expense of Indian lives. Patriotic speeches and music as if killing Indians was a great and glorious achievement.

I'm not sure what Glenna Wallace has "mixed" feelings about. I'd say her feelings should be wholly negative. Exactly what about the Battle of Tippecanoe does she feel positive about?

As I've discussed before, Tecumseh's confederacy probably was the Indians' best chance of stopping the American onslaught. This confederacy was broken at Tippecanoe. That doesn't sound like something to celebrate to me.


Rob said...

DMarks said:

When I was there, the place was full of buzzards. It was kind of eerie.

zzzzzzzz said:

I live in Lafayette, Indiana, and I drive by the monument almost every day. I went to Junior High school in Lafayette at "Tecumseh Middle School." I work at a place called "Camp Tecumseh," and here Tecumseh is lifted up as a gifted leader who was respected highly by tribes throughout the region and as a role model for all. As the years have gone by we have celebrated Tecumseh in Tippecanoe County as much as we have celebrated anyone else involved with the Battle of Tippecanoe. Your idea that we're celebrating the downfall of Native American civilization is over-reaching....

Rob said...

I'm just commenting on what I read and saw, Zzzzzzzz. Namely, the attendees' talk of "celebrating" and other forms of "patriotism."

I didn't see anything about Indians participating in the reenactment or the ceremonies. Nothing giving the Indians' side of the battle or why the battle was wrong. No sign of a monument to Tecumseh or the Indians at the Tippecanoe battlefield.

Why did Chief Wallace of the Oklahoma Shawnees have mixed feelings if the attendees did a good job of honoring Indians? And where were all the Indians from Indiana and Ohio? Would you care to explain that?

I'm glad you're celebrating Tecumseh at your school and camp and throughout the region. However, celebrating Tecumseh everywhere else is a related but separate matter. If you're not doing it already, I suggest you start celebrating him at the battlefield itself. And stop celebrating the white man's victory over the Indians.

P.S. Sorry, I had to delete this item and repost it and its comments. I misspelled "Tippecanoe" in the title and we can't have that. ;-)