The story of the Shawnee leader Tecumseh is retold in an outdoor drama every summer near Chillicothe. “Tecumseh” in Shawnee means “shooting star” – suggesting the spectacular but brief career of this legendary Indian leader. Born in 1768 near present-day Piqua, Ohio, he gained a reputation for bravery and leadership in battles against the U.S. army in southern Ohio.
After their defeat at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, most other Indian leaders thought their only path to peace was to sign the Treaty of Greenville, giving up their southern Ohio lands. But Tecumseh refused. With his brother Tenskwatawa, called “The Prophet,” he worked heroically in the early 1800s to persuade all the tribes in the region to unite and push the white settlers back across the Appalachian Mountains.
Troops led by William Henry Harrison destroyed Tecumseh’s base at Prophetstown, Indiana, and with it his dream of a united Indian resistance. Tecumseh joined English forces in the War of 1812, still trying to turn back the tide of settlement, but was killed in battle.