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Shawnee Prophet

Shawnee Prophet, 1775?–1837?, Native North American of the Shawnee tribe; brother of Tecumseh. His Native American name was Tenskwautawa. He announced himself as a prophet bearing a revelation from the Native American master of life. The message urged the renunciation of the acquired ways of the whites and the return to Native American modes and customs in all matters. His doctrines were widespread among Native Americans, and his prestige was enhanced when he foretold a solar eclipse in 1806. His influence gave rise to the plan to confederate all the Native Americans in opposition to the whites—a plan that inspired the Creek War of 1813. In 1811 he led the Native American forces in the battle of Tippecanoe. The movement inspired by him provided many recuits for the British in the War of 1812, after which Tenskwatawa retired to Canada with a British pension. He returned to Ohio in 1826 and accompanied his people to Missouri and farther west into Kansas, where he died.

See B. Drake, The Life of Tecumseh and of his Brother the Prophet (1841, repr. 1969).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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