Shawnee Chief Tecumseh is considered one of the greatest American Indian chiefs in the early history of the United States. He possessed outstanding military, political and oratory skills that allowed him to forge alliances of many American Indian tribes. He grew up and lived in various Shawnee towns in the greater Dayton area including, Old Chillicothe, Peckuwe (Piqua), and further north near Wapakoneta, Bellefontaine, and Greenfield. Tecumseh rose to become the principal leader of the American Indian groups opposed to expansion of European-American settlements in the old Northwest.
Tecumseh participated as a warrior in the Northwest Indian War in 1785 to 1795. He accompanied his brother, Chiksika, in the Chickamauga raids in Tennessee. This trip allowed Tecumseh to broaden his experience in forging alliances with other tribes and he took on a greater leadership role within the Shawnee war parties. He became one of the primary leaders opposing a series of treaties negotiated between chiefs and William Henry Harrison. These treaties would give over three million acres of land for white settlement, but Tecumseh believed land was not a commodity. He led the American Indian allies of the British during the War of 1812.
Tecumseh died at the battle at River Themes on October 5, 1813. He is the first American Indian to be inducted into the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame.