Tenskwatawa, the foremost religious leader of the Shawnee, preached a return to traditional ways. Possessed with great oratorical skills, he built a large movement, and in 1808 he established Prophet’s Town in the Indiana Territory. He bitterly opposed territorial governor William Henry Harrison’s Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809), a dubious agreement in which some Native leaders ceded three million acres to the government. Tenskwatawa denied the legitimacy of their claim to the lands and warned Harrison not to allow white settlement on them. Harrison surrounded the Shawnees at Prophet’s Town, demanding they disperse and hand over those guilty of frontier raids. Tenskwatawa attacked on November 7, 1811, promising his warriors that his powers would protect them. Each side suffered heavy casualties in what became known as the Battle of Tippecanoe. When the Shawnees abandoned the field, Harrison burned out Prophet’s Town, claiming victory. Tenskwatawa was discredited and no longer led his people into battle.


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