As a teenager, I was fascinated with the lore, quotes and poems from such great leaders as Tocumseh. My father was a collector of Old West guns, memorabilia and books. This inspired me to illustrate and draw images of our indigenous people, as I truly loved art and photography. It is an unfortunate part of American history that we killed the people and spirit of the Members of the First Nation, often incorrectly referred to as “Native Americans”.
Tecumseh, a leader of the Shawnee, was not only a brave warrior for his people, but was an inspirational poet. Included here is the most quoted Tecumseh poem: “So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. “Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. “When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. “When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” – Tecumseh, Native American leader of the Shawnee