Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Tenskwatawa was a Shawnee "prophet" and revolutionary who had visions of the Great Spirit and attempted to unite First Americans ("American Indians") against European American invaders. He tried to encourage First Americans to have no contact with the Europeans, to cease all trade, and to only give them food if they (I mean we) were starving - an incredibly generous act.
Tenskwatawa claimed to have a series of visions wherein he was possess by the Great Spirit who said, "The Americans I did not make; they are not my children but the children of the evil spirit. They grew from the scum of the great waters when it was troubled by the evil spirit and the froth was driven into the woods by a strong east wind. They are numerous, but I hate them. My children, you must not speak of this talk to the whites. It must be hidden from them. I am now on the earth sent by the great spirit to instruct you. Each village must send me two or more principal chiefs to represent you, that yo may be taught. The bearer of this talk will point out to you the path to my wigwam. I could not come myself to Abre Crocted, because the world is changed from what it was. It is broken and leans down, and as it declines, the Chippewas and all beyond, will fall off and die; therefore you must come to see me and be instructed. The villages which do not listen to this talk and send me two deputies, will be cut from the face of the earth."
Shortly thereafter the confederation of First Americans, together with the British, fought the Americans in the war of 1812. The result of this war was not good for the First Americans (although the British managed to save Canada for the Commonwealth) and the First Americans were, in very large part, cut off from the face of the earth,as Tenskwatawa predicted.
On the right is Shouin Yoshida . He was a late nineteenth century revolutionary who encouraged the Japanese to arm, and invade or otherwise persuade other Asian countries to federalise with Japan since he felt that Japan was surrounded by European enemies. As we know, the Japanese did do as Shouin suggested but eventually they were pushed back to their island, and finally invaded. Today the inhabitants are gradually becoming Westernised. Tenskwatawa, or at least Shouin Yoshida would be rather upset.
The notion that a people might be formed from 'scum on the water when troubled by the evil spirit' is interesting since it is a theme shared in creation myth of the Japanese. The Japanese trace their own origins to a defilement floating on the surface of the water, a problem which they eventually overcame, temporarily perhaps.
This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.