Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The "Shawanoes" & A Motive for War

From a speech delivered by a Shawnee chief (possibly Laulewasikaw, brother of Tecumseh) at Fort Wayne in 1803:

    "The Master of Life, who was himself an Indian, made the Shawanoes before any other of the human race; and they sprang from his brain; he gave them all the knowledge he himself possessed, and placed them upon the great island, and all the other red people descended from the Shawanoes. He made the French and English out of his breast, the Dutch out of his feet, and the Long-knives [Virginians] out of his hands. All these inferior races of men he made white and placed them beyond the stinking lake [Atlantic Ocean]. The Shawanoes continued for many ages to be masters of the continent, using the knowledge they had received from the Great Spirit in such a manner as to be pleasing to Him, and to secure their own happiness. In a great length of time, however, they became corrupt, and the Master of Life told them he would take away from them the knowledge which they possessed, and give it to the white people, to be restored when, by a return to good principles they should deserve it. Many ages after that, they saw something white approaching their shores; at first they took it for a great bird, but they soon found it to be a monstrous canoe, filled with those who had got the knowledge which belonged to the Shawanoes. After these white people landed, they were not content with having the knowledge which belonged to the Shawanoes, but they usurped their lands also: they pretended indeed to have purchased these lands; but the very goods they gave for them, were more the property of the Indians than the white people, because the knowledge which enabled them to manufacture these goods, actually belonged to the Shawanoes: but these things will soon have an end. The Master of Life is about to restore to the Shawanoes both their knowledge and their rights, and he will trample the Long-knives under his feet."