The territory from the Great Lakes to the north of Ohio River called The Old Northwest was the home of many Native American tribes including Miamis, Delawares, Otta-was and Shawnees. At the dawn of the 19th century, they bitterly felt that their influence was diminishing as compared to the white Americans. With the defeat at the Battle of Fallen Timbers 1794, they were continuously losing their land to the advantage of the whites. Social woes, alcohol abuse, segregation signalled the end of halcyon days that their ancestors used to have. Just then the Indians felt a strong need for religious movement in response to the imminent danger to their identity. Eventually, the flurry of interest for prophets had appeared. Religious leaders of any kind were sure that loss of power was cardinally connected with the break with the spirit world.
The history tells us about one of the brightest Indian prophets named Tenskwautawa which means "Open Door". Born in 1775 with his twin brother Tecumseh, he came from Shawnee tribe. Before he announced himself a Shawnee Prophet, Tenskwautawa spent his early years in Ohio. Even at that time the Shawnee were alcohol addicted and were badly exposed to the culture of the whites. Like other Indians, he was a hard drinker leading a dissolute life. Once his family thought him go out of this world when he came to his senses and described how he travelled to Spiritland. Later he declared himself a prophet able to negotiate with supreme forces.
Tenskwautawa was a bearer of ideas appealing to the Indians fight for their independence and live the life they had led before the white men came to their land. Shawnee Prophet’s doctrines were enthusiastically supported by many Native Americans. Moreover, his power enhanced when he foretold an eclipse of the sun. Tenskwautawa managed to attract numerous followers who helped him prosecute those who practiced black art. He intended to confederate all the Indian tribes to oppose the white authority and that was the cause of the Creek War in 1813. Tenskwautawa headed the Indian tribes in the battle of Tippecanoe (1811) who were fighting in league with the British army. Unfortunately, their defeat made Native Americans give up on Shawnee Prophet's ideas. Thus, Tenskwautawa went on a British pension and left for Canada. In 1826 he returned to lares and penates in Ohio. The rest of his life the Prophet spent in Kansas where his tribe was forcibly resettled and passed away in the year of 1837.
The territory from the Great Lakes to the north of Ohio River called The Old Northwest was the home of many Native American tribes including Miamis, Delawares, Otta-was and Shawnees. At the dawn of the 19th century, they bitterly felt that their influence was diminishing as compared to the white Americans.