Tecumseh to Grace a Stamp, and a Freighter
The great Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, a key figure in the War of 1812, will be doubly honored during the bicentennial year of that conflict by both a stamp and a freighter. The former will bear his likeness, and the latter his name.
The stamp is scheduled to be unveiled in June, and at some point a Great Lakes freighter will be rechristened, champagne and all, with Tecumseh's name, CBC News reports. Tecumseh joins First Nations musician Robbie Robertson, who had a stamp created in his honor last June.
Gary McNamara, mayor of Tecumseh, Ontario, told CBC News that although a ship hasn't been chosen yet, the recommissioning will most likely take place at ADM Agri-Industries at the Port of Windsor.
"It'll be a great ship that's going to be in the Great Lakes region for years to come," he told CBC News, adding that it would "certainly be flying the flag of Tecumseh."
Tecumseh is best known north of the border as the leader who joined the British to defend the Canadas, as they were called back then, from the invading Americans, according to the Canadian government's War of 1812 site.
On the American side, he is known as the Shawnee who pulled together the Tecumseh Confederacy to take back Indian lands from the U.S. settlers. This extended to his joining the British as they fought back U.S. troops. He advocated a return to traditional aboriginal ways and putting intertribal rivalries aside, the Canadian site says.
"His support for Major-General Sir Isaac Brock at the capture of Detroit was decisive," the Canadian government site says, adding that Brock, himself a legendary fighter, praised Tecumseh as well.
“A more sagacious or more gallant Warrior does not I believe exist," wrote Brock, who will himself get a stamp in 2012 as well. "He was the admiration of everyone who conversed with him.”
Tecumseh's performance at the Battle of Detroit was especially masterful, the site says, as he created a sort of optical illusion, arranging his warriors in what appeared to be a never-ending line fronting the British. This daunted the American forces enough for Brock to play good cop, allegedly warning that he would not be able to control Tecumseh's warriors once they had started fighting. The Americans capitulated to avoid what they feared would be a massacre.
The last fight of the leader whose name means shooting star was at the Battle of the Thames in Chatham, Ontario, where he died fighting the Americans on October 5, 1813.