Discussion Question — Consider indigenous peoples, native to the land we call America, and their beliefs of lands and natural elements as sacred gifts to all. Contrast this to the European notion of land ownership, which made the buying and selling of land a part of their colonization of indigenous peoples and discuss how these ideologies clash. What does Tecumseh appeal to and how does his plea connect with the politics Trodd mentions in the introduction?
The Native people believe that it was wrong for people to come and take their land that they believed to be inherited and a part of nature. Tecumseh went forward to Governor Harrison to challenge his treaty and stood for what he believed in that was given to him through a higher power. He recommended that the European return to their own homes. Tecumseh felt that they were trying to prevent the Indian people to unite on common property or property that should be available to everyone. The European at the time only colonized what they saw as New World for wealth, freedom, and higher social status. The two ideologies of the Indian and indigenous people are totally different. Tecumseh said to them that they were trying to tear Indian people apart and turn them against each other and then he goes on to say basically that the Indian people had not traveled to their land to bother what was theirs. He wasn’t going to stand for this and declared it be a war if they tried to proceed. Tecumseh did not want the land to be sold individually or divided amongst the people residing there. He wanted it to remain free to all making the point, “…did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?” (Trodd, Zoe, 2018). He also mention there was no reason to trust the white people because of what they did to Jesus. His arguments relate to Trodd’s introduction in politics of memory in that his beliefs was the land had been provided by higher power and has been and should remain the way it was provided in the beginning. Politics of form also relates in being that the Indians were referred to as the “red people” using aesthetics to deliver their message or describe cultural difference between them and the “white people”
Trodd, Zoe. American Protest Literature. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008.
The European people came to this country and believed they could come in and stake claim to any land they wanted. The belief system of the Europeans was based on land ownership and they came to America and believed that land was a commodity not something sacred. The Indians were literally being pushed out of the land they had all shared The Europeans were dividing the Indian nation by privately offering money and goods to Indians for their land thus pushing them further out of their land. Tecumseh could foresee that his race would be annihilated if this continued.
When the Europeans settled at Plymouth Rock the indigenous Indians shared everything they had and what they knew about the land. Thus we have Thanksgiving. Early on did the Indians understand that when they sold land to the Europeans that it would no longer be theirs? The Indians belief system had always been the land was for everyone. As stated in our readings Tecumseh was a genius and an eloquent public speaker. He could foresee the future. “The annihilation of our race is at hand unless we unite in one common cause (45).” He reminded his people that they all had equal rights to the land from the beginning and always should. The air, the great sea and the land belongs to everyone. Natural beauty in this land should be shared by all.
In our readings Trodd mentioned Women’s Health Action Mobilization, AIM activists, gay rights and many others. All of the movements have a common goal. Bring their groups together as one mind and thinking to stand up and say we have the same rights as anyone else. I am not ashamed of who I am or what I stand for. I have the same rights as the next person. Each of these groups had a great orator to stand up and speak for them. Martin Luther King, Lydia Maria Child and many others were leaders in their movements. Tecumseh was preaching that all Indians have the same rights as the settlers coming in.
Zinn, Zoe Trodd: John Stauffer: Howard. American Protest Literature. First Harvard University Press, 2008.
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