In the early 1800s, when control of the Old Northwest had not yet been assured to the United States, the Shawnee leaders Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet, led an intertribal movement culminating at the Battle of Tippecanoe and the Battle of the Thames. Historians have portrayed Tecumseh, the war leader, as the key figure in forging the intertribal confederacy. In this full-length biography of Tenskwatawa, R. David Edmunds shows that, to the contrary, the Shawnee Prophet initiated and for much of the period dominated the movement, providing a set of religious beliefs and ceremonies that revived the tribes' fading power and cohesion.
R. David Edmunds is a professor of history at Indian University. His other publications include The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire (1978) and Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership (1984).
"This volume is a valuable contribution to the history of Indian-white relations. . . . [Edmunds] is adept in portraying the circumstances among the midwestern tribes which inspired the transformation of Lalawethika, the village drunkard, into Tenskwatawa, the Prophet. . . . It is all presented in a smooth and felicitous style which makes unobtrusive the solid scholarship on which it is based."—William T. Hagan, Montana: The Magazine of Western History
"A splendid biographical study of Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Holy Man who is best known as the brother of Tecumseh . . . Based upon extensive and meticulous research, this biography is a joy to read. . . . The author convincingly establishes the critical and pre-eminent role of Tenskwatawa as the leader of the Indian resistance to American expansion before 1810."—W. David Baird, Journal of the West