In the spring of 1805, Tenskwatawa, a Shawnee, fell into a trance so deep that those around him believed he had died. When he finally stirred, the young prophet claimed to have met the Master of Life. He told those who crowded around to listen that the Indians were in dire straits because they had adopted white culture and rejected traditional spiritual ways. For several years Tenskwatawa's spiritual revival movement drew thousands of adherents from tribes across the Midwest. His elder brother, Tecumseh, would harness the energies of that renewal to create an unprecedented military and political confederacy of often antagonistic tribes, all committed to stopping white westward expansion. The brothers came closer than anyone since to creating an Indian nation that would exist alongside and separate from the United States. The dream of an independent Indian state may have died at the Battle of the Thames, when Tecumseh was killed fighting alongside his British allies, but the great Shawnee warrior would live on as a potent symbol of Native pride and pan-Indian identity. This is the second of a 5-part American Experience mini-series.moreless
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