Canku Ota


(Many Paths)


An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 10, 2001 - Issue 29



Tecumseh's Dream May Be Heading to Shawnee National Forest


By Burke Speaker Daily Egyptian Southern Illinois U.

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A prophetic 200-year-old dream once thought obsolete is poised to come true in Southern Illinois for an estimated 50,000 American Indians across the nation.

The Shawnee National Forest is being considered as a location for a nationwide educational conference, uniting thousands of American Indians and non-American Indians alike. The conference, slightly based on the 1801 American Indian vision called Tecumseh's Dream, is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 11 through Oct. 14.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Becky Banker said Forest Service officials have briefly discussed the event with the organizers, two Detroit-based American Indians who wish to remain anonymous. This stems from the need for the gathering to represent an entire community of people and not just two organizers.

Banker said they have not initiated any concrete plans at this time, but if or when they do, the Forest Service must first look at the environmental effects of such an assembly. As Tecumseh's Dream would be the single largest convocation in the Shawnee's government-owned history, an environmental analysis is needed before deciding where in the forest it can occur.

"We haven't even started doing anything about it yet," Banker said. "If they do decide to come here, we'll have to take a look at the environmental effects from it first."

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale American Indian graduate student John Rivera, who is helping with the gathering, said the conference is still in its planning infancy and at this stage, organizers are trying to unite as many people as possible for a peaceful meeting.

"It's not going to be a protest, it's not a march or anything like that," Rivera said. "This is to get Indian and non-Indian educators together for a peaceful conference. There's Tecumseh's Dream, Crazy Horse's Dream, Sitting Bull had his dream; they've all had the same dreams at different parts of our history to bring people together."

Tecumseh's Dream was Shawnee Chief Tecumseh's vision of unifying 50,000 American Indians to stop the white man's encroachment upon their lands. Before this could happen, Tecumseh's headstrong brother allied some warriors before Tecumseh returned from a trip, which resulted in a massive loss against William Henry Harrison's army. After the defeat, the dream was considered dead.

The 2001 unification is slightly different, with education, human and civil rights, health and environmental issues being discussed. Also, organizers are aiming for 50,000, as the original dream calls for, but Rivera said they "just want a good turnout."

The gathering also invites non-American Indians to learn and understand from those living on reservations. The Shawnee Forest was picked because of Tecumseh's ties to it, and because of its central location in what American Indians call Turtle Island, the land mass that stretches from the tip of Alaska to South America.

The Shawnee conference would not be the only American Indian convocation in the country. A festival for all tribes occurs in Bear Butte, S. D., each June.

Rivera stressed that the Shawnee gathering "benefits American Indians in that they're trying to solve some of the problems that exist on and off reservations.

"Anytime people gather together in a peaceful atmosphere a lot of good things happen," Rivera said.

(C) 2001 Daily Egyptian via U-WIRE

Tecumseh's Dream 2001


Words of Tecumseh




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