Kumeyaay Yuman Native American Bird Singing Cocopah Free Cultural Multimedia Movie Shawnee Tecumseh Speech, early 1800s Pokagon Pottawatomie Indian and music CD audio recording Native American singing gourd rattles. Movie and web page design produced (and typed out) by GARY G BALLARD San Diego

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Note: This multimedia movie and page text contain two editorial parts:

1) The ageless Native American Birdsong singing, recorded 2003.
2) The Tecumseh speech text (lower page), spoken circa 1800, published 1899.

1) The California Indian Bird Song:

Traditional Native American Bird Singing by Dale Phillips, Cocopah, Onesimo Gonzalez Sainz, Cucapa, and Kalim Smith, Creek Indian.

Song recorded by Gary G. Ballard, November 2003, in the Cocopah Territory, EL MAYOR, Baja California, Mexico, the Colorado River Delta Region, where the Colorado River empties into the Gulf of California -- Cucapa Indian village.

The song (and video-taped interviews) were recorded as part of Kalim Smith's UCSD documentary, Right of Passage, A Nation Divided.

The three Native American bird singers sang this song in total darkness on the river bank, but the sky was crystal clear and it had a kagillion twinkling stars....

See News Article for more information on this dying Indigenous Colorado River delta area where the song was recorded.
Published 2001, CNN AP EXCERPT:

When Onesimo Gonzales, the village chief, was born in 1934, Hoover Dam was just taking shape and the Colorado River was untamed. The delta (area) then supported a marshland and silt-rich estuary covering 1.9 million acres.

"The river was everywhere and nowhere, for (it) could not decide which of a hundred green lagoons offered the most pleasant and least speedy path to the gulf," traveler Aldo Leopold wrote in 1922.

Eighty years ago Leopold wrote of "awesome jungles...lovely groves...still waters of a deep emerald hue." He described (the area as) an Eden alive with colorful birds of every size, deer, bobcats and coyotes.

Chief Onesimo Gonzales explained (2001), "Our river is gone. No more fishing. Trees are dead. No one plants. The wells are dry."

The 45 remaining families coax murky water for washing from a distant (well), but for drinking or cooking they wait for trucks that sell clean water...the plight of El Mayor typifies what is happening around the world....

Special thanks to Steven Newcomb, Shawnee / Delaware, for his research finding the speech and graciously sharing it with us.

More on Chief Tecumseh HERE indigenouspeople.net
More on the Shawnee Nation HERE home.kc.rr.com/utosi


This two-minute movie excerpt is part of a 200-photo, 45-minute video documentary on one of the first white families to homestead northwest Ohio in the early 1800s, the Great Black Swamp, Defiance Trail, Auglaize River, Scott's Crossing, Lima, Elida, Delphos area.

A 30-minute version of the documentary and more than 20 of the restored vintage 1800s 1900s historical midwest farm photographs may be viewed HEREgballard.net.

The free online movie DVD also contains an in-depth 2002 interview of a 76-year-old elder woman which connects the Treaty of Greenville 1795, Indian Removal Act 1830, and Trail of Tears (late 1830s) to her family oral history.

Other On-line Movies:

KI Kumeyaay Indian MOVIES kumeyaay.info

Native American Kumeyaay Bird Singing, Equestrian Bird Dancing, Powwow, Pictorial, PSA

Broadband recommended for movie play


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2) The Tecumseh Speech:

Speech by The Great Shawnee Warrior and Statesman, Chief Tecumseh (1768-1813), as included in the following magazine article by Simon Pokagon, Pokagon Band of Pottawatomie Nation:

Published, 1899
(Tecumseh's speech spoken around 1800)
"Harpers New Monthly Magazine"
Vol. XCVIII, No. DLXXXVI, March 1899, pp. 649-656


By Simon Pokagon
Chief of the Pokagon Band of Pottawatomie Nation

Gathered from the traditions of the Indian tribes engaged in the massacre, and from the published accounts.

My father, Chief Leopold Pokagon, was present at the massacre of Fort Dearborn in 1812, and I have received the traditions of the massacre from our old men. Since my youth I have associated with people of the white race, and sympathize with them as well as with my own people. I am in a position to deal justly with both.

Whatever I may say against the dealings of white men with the Indians, I trust no reader for a moment will think that Pokagon does not know, or does not appreciate, what is now being done for the remnant of his race. He certainly does, and with an overflowing heart of gratitude and pride he reviews the lives of those noble men and women who in the face of stubborn prejudice have boldly advocated the rights of his race in the ears of politicians and government officials.

In order to present the facts as nearly as possible, I shall rely on the written history; but the earliest detailed account I have been able to find was written by a woman, who claimed the story was told her by an eye-witness 20 years after occurrence, and she did not publish it until 22 years later. Thus the account was traditional when first published.

In considering the real causes we must bear in mind that during the settlement of this country, up to the time of the Chicago massacre, the great Algonquin tribe, with others, were slowly but surely being pushed before the tidal wave of civilization towards the setting sun. Our rights were not respected; we saw no sympathy being shown for us, for our love of home; no respect paid to the graves of our fathers.

A the close of eighteenth century numerous tribes, numbering many thousand people, found themselves crowded into what is now known as western Ohio, northern Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Our tribe, the Pottawtomies, occupied western Wisconsin, the country around Chicago, and the valley of the river St. Joseph in Michigan and Indiana.

While we were being pushed westward another tidal wave of pale-faced humanity came moving against us from the south, driving before it the red man, like buffaloes before the prairie on fire. Our fathers saw it, and trembled at their fate. Anxiously they inquired of each other, if we stand still with folded arms until the two advancing columns meet, where will our country and the red man be?

In our ignorance we did not comprehend the mighty ocean of humanity that lay back of the advance-waves of pioneer settlement. But being fired by as noble patriotism as ever burned in the hearts of mortals, we tried to beat back the reckless white men who dared settle within our borders – and vast armies were sent out to punish us.

We fought most heroically against overpowering numbers for home and native land; sometimes victory was ours, as when, during the last decade of the eighteenth century, after having had many warriors killed, and our villages burned to the ground, our fathers arose in their might, putting to flight the alien armies of Generals Harmar and St. Clair, hurling them in disorder from the wilderness across our borders into their own ill-gotten domain.

But only four years after, while yet we were rejoicing over our success, the white man, under General Wayne, with ‘wasp-like venom,’ swept our land.

During 1803 our jealousy was aroused almost to the war pitch by the building of Fort Dearborn, strongly garrisoned and equipped, in the very heart of our territory. We looked upon it as a dangerous enemy within our camp.

About this time Tecumseh, a great orator and hero in war, visited the different tribes, unfolding to them his plan to unite them as one nation and make a desperate effort to regain and hold their ancient lands. He sent out runners before him to announce the time he would meet each tribe at their council fires and make his plan known.

He and two other chief went from tribe to tribe, riding spirited black ponies finely equipped, and themselves gayly dressed. When he arose in the council-house his bearing was so noble that cheer on cheer would be given before he would open his mouth to speak.

My father and many others who listened to the speeches of Tecumseh many times repeated to me his words when I was a boy, but it was impossible to give an idea of their spirit and power.

He (Tecumseh) generally spoke as follows:

"Before me stand the rightful owners of kwaw–notchi–we au–kee (this beautiful land).

"The Great Spirit in His wisdom gave it to you and your children to defend, and placed you here.

"But ä–te–wä (alas!) the incoming race, like a huge serpent, is coiling closer and closer about you.

"And not content with hemming you in on every side, they have built at She–gog–ong (Chicago), in the very center of our country, a military fort, garrisoned with soldiers, ready and equipped for battle.

"As sure as waw–kwen–og (the heavens) are above you they are determined to destroy you and your children and occupy this goodly land themselves.

"Then they will destroy these forests, whose branches wave in the winds above the graves your fathers, chanting their praises.

"If you doubt it, come, go with me eastward or southward a few days' journey along your ancient mi–kan–og (trails), and I will show you a land you once occupied made desolate.

"There the forests of untold years have been hewn down and cast into the fire!

"There be–sheck–kee and waw–mawsh–ka–she (the buffalo and deer) pe–nay–shen and ke–gon (the fowl and fish), are all gone.

"There the woodland birds, whose sweet songs once pleased your ears, have forsaken the land, never to return.

"And waw–bi–gon–ag (the wild flowers), which your maidens once loved to wear, have all withered and died.

"You must bear in mind these strangers are not as you — they are devoid of natural affection, loving gold or gain better than one another, or ki–tchi–tchag (their own souls).

"Some of them follow on your track as quietly as maw–in–gawn (the wolf) pursues the deer, to shoot you down, as you hunt and kill mé–she–bé–zhe (the panther)."

"But a few years since I saw with my own eyes a young white man near the O-hi-o River who was held by our people as a prisoner of war. He won the hearts of his captors with his apparent friendship and good-will, while murder was in his heart.

"They trusted him as they trusted one another. But he most treacherously betrayed their confidence, and secretly killed not less than nech-to-naw (twenty) before his crimes were detected, and then he had fled.

"After this, when Chief Harmar (a United States general) invited some of our head men to meet him at Fort Harmar to try and settle our was spirits, that same young man lay in wait, and secretly shot down me-no au-nish-naw-by (a good Indian man) just as he reached the treaty grounds; and yet for that outrageous crime he went unpunished, and today is being petted by wau-be au-nene-eg (white men) as you pet him who kills mé–she–bé–zhe (the panther).

"I speak of this case – and there are many of them within my own personal knowledge – that you may know our enemies are cunning, crafty, and cruel, without honor, without natural affection.

"When we were many and strong, and they were few and weak, they reached out their hands for wido-kaw-ké-win (help), and we filled them with wie-aus and maw-daw-min (meat and corn); we lived wa-naw-kiwen (in peace) together; but now they are many and strong, and we are getting few and weak, they waw nen-dam (have forgotten) the deep debt of mawmo-i-wendam (gratitude) they owe us, and are now scheming to drive us towards ke-so (the setting sun), into desert places far from ke-win (home) and da-na ki aukee (our native land).

"Eh (yes), they come to us with lips smoother than bi-me-da (oil), and words sweeter than amose-póma (honey), but beware of them! The venomous amo (wasp) is in their odaw (heart), and their dealing with us when we have not tamely submitted, has ever been maw-kaw-te and ashki-koman (powder and lead); against such mau-tchi au-nene (wicked men) our only pagos-seni-ma (hope), our only inin-ijim (safety) is in joining all our tribes, and then, and not until then, will we be able to drive the soulless invaders back! Fail in this, and awak-ani-win (slavery) and ne-baw (death) are ours!

"And lastly, do not forget that what peace you have enjoyed the past 50 years in your homes and on your hunting grounds you entirely owe to the brave Pontiac, who, at the risk of his own life, destroyed the forts of your enemies around the Great Lakes, driving the white invaders back."

Not one tribe refused to unite in the great Algonquin confederacy. While Tecumseh was at work night and day preparing for the inevitable struggle between the two races, General Harrison, quiet as the wolf, invaded our territory with a vast army, defeating Elks-wa-ta-wa, an Indian prophet and twin brother of Tecumseh, at Tippecanoe, Indiana.

He (General Harrison) slew many warriors, women, and children, burned our villages and supplies, leaving us and our little ones naked and destitute. This was the fourth time, in a few years, our country was invaded in autumn-time, near cold weather, and all our supplies for winter’s use burned or destroyed, which created a feeling of revenge in the hearts of our people.

These outrages portrayed by the eloquence of Tecumseh, who was holding daily councils with different tribes, fanned the slumbering embers of the war spirit into a blaze that could not well be quenched.

In June 1812, war was declared by the United States against Great Briton. One year before, and during that summer, British emissaries came among our fathers, enlisted sympathy, and stirred up their prejudices against the United States by telling them it was the intention of the government to destroy them and take their lands for their own children.

They (the British) said that their King, who ruled beyond the ocean and the Great Lakes, would defend them and fight for them from generation to generation. They said that his warriors outnumbered the stars in the heavens, and that when the sun rose and set red, it was but to remind them of the King’s warriors.

Our young men confided in these emissaries, and calling to mind the long death-roll of the warriors killed at Tippecanoe the previous autumn, many of them began to talk of driving the white men out of the Indian territory.

On August 1st of that year a white man who had formerly been a fur buyer, and could speak our language well, came among us from northern Michigan. He appeared much excited, saying that he was a messenger sent by the British chief to inform the Pottawatomies that he had joined his forces with their brave Tecumseh to help save their native land.

He also informed us that Mackinaw Island, the fort of Mackinaw and its garrison, had surrendered to the British and Indians the day before he left; that in all probability Detroit and the United States fort there had shared the same fate; and that it was necessary, in order to secure our ancient lands and liberty, Fort Dearborn, the only stronghold remaining in the Northwest, should be taken at once.

He admonished us, furthermore, that if we had one spark of sa-ka-i (love) for our homes and hunting grounds, we should consider it a duty we owed ourselves, our wives, and children to sound at once the war-whoop and besiege the fort.

A few days after this, Captain Heald, commander at Fort Dearborn, called the head men of our people together to meet him in council. To their surprise, he told them he intended to evacuate the fort the next day, August 15, 1812; that he would distribute the firearms, ammunition, provisions, whiskey, ect., among them; and that if they would send a band of Pottawatomies to escort them safely to Fort Wayne, he would there pay them a large sum of money.

To this the Indians agreed, apparently well satisfied. Some goods were given them, but firearms and ammunition were secretly destroyed, and, worst of all for some, the whiskey too, which was poured into the river. Some of the Indians, finding the whisky was being poured into the river, rushed in, drank the water freely, declaring it was more groggy than fire-water itself. Under the influence of the strange mixture a war dance was gotten up by the young men and some of the reckless older ones.

The day before the massacre a white man came to the fort with 20 Miami Indians to escort the garrison to Fort Wayne. This aroused the jealousy of the Pottawatomies, who took it for granted their services would not be appreciated.

Furthermore, the white man was a Captain Wells, who, having been brought up with the Indians, and having fought with them several years against the white man, afterwards joined his own race and fought against the Indians most desperately; many of the Pottawatomies knew him; and regarded him as a base traitor.

I have heard it said that when the fort was evacuated the Pottawatomies pretended to be acting as escorts for the soldiers, when in fact, they were luring them to their death. This I regard as untrue.

I have many times heard old warriors say that they were led by this Captain Wells and his Miami Indians, some in front and some in the rear. This seems probable, in view of the fact that on the day before the evacuation they gave Captain Heald to understand they were dissatisfied because the whiskey, firearms, and ammunition were destroyed, and in view of the fact that Captain Heald was informed the night before that there was serious trouble ahead, under such circumstances Captain Heald would not have dared to trust them.

On August 15, 1812, the fort was evacuated, and the line of march commenced southward along the shore of Lake Michigan. Copied from www.gballard.net. The Indian warriors stationed themselves about two miles south of the fort, and on the right side of the line, placing it between themselves and the lake.

When they were discovered, a halt was made, and an order given by Captain Wells to charge them on the right of the line of march. Then, more like a herd of buffaloes at bay than trained soldiers, headlong they plunged through the Indian line on the right, which was broken.

They fought most desperately, on the right and left, what old warriors called a rough-and-tumble fight, until hemmed in on every side by overpowering numbers. They finally surrendered, with the proviso that their lives should be spared.

Captain Wells was forsaken by his Miamis, who fled at the sound of the first war-whoop; but he fought 100 or more single handed, on horseback, shooting them down on right and left, in front and rear, until his horse fell under hum and he was killed.

I have many times heard old warriors say that during the battle a rush was made to secure the baggage in the rear. This was guarded by several white warriors, who shot down many of the attacking Indians, and having no time to reload, used their guns as clubs until they all were killed.

I have further heard that a young Indian, infuriated by drink and the death of so many of his comrades, killed several children with his tomahawk, for which he was hated by the tribe ever after.

Out of nearly 100 of the garrison, two-thirds at least were killed or badly wounded, while the Indian loss must have been twice as great.

Turning from the slaughter, where the Angel of Mercy seems to have been asleep, let us recall individual efforts made, showing that pity and mercy yet lived in some of our race.

The night before the massacre, Chief Maw-kaw-be-pe-nay (Black Partridge) came into the fort, and in tears said to Captain Heald: “Great Chief, I have come here to give you this medal that I wear. It was given to me by your people, as a token of goodwill between us. I am sorry, but our young men declare they will shed the blood of your people. I cannot restrain them. And I will not wear this medal as a friend while I am forced to act as an enemy.”

As the captain reluctantly received the medal in silence and surprise, the old chief said: "As you march away from here, be on your guard. Linden-birds have been warbling whispers in my ears today."

Captains Wells and Heald both personally knew the old chief as an honest, truthful man, and it would seem such timely and pathetic warning as that, from such a reliable source as that, couched in such heart-eloquence as that, should not have gone unheeded by any reasonable, sober men.

During the fighting around the wagons, the young Indian who murdered the children, being upbraided by Mrs. Helm, the young wife of the lieutenant of the fort, he struck at her with his tomahawk.

She grabbed him about his neck, and tried to take his knife from his belt; in the struggle an old Indian grasped her in his arms, ran to the lake, and plunged her in. She soon saw it was the same old chief, in war paint, that gave the warning of danger the night before to Captain Heald, and that instead of trying to drown her, he was trying to save her life.

The old chief must have realized he was liable to be shot down by those he sought to save, as an enemy, or by his own people as a traitor. But he saved the woman’s life, and she was restored to her friends.

My father, Leopold Pokagon, chief of the Pottawatomie band, was not informed of the war spirit existing among his tribe around Fort Dearborn until within 24 hours of its evacuation. He had a great reputation among the tribe as a wise counselor, and his influence over mi-gas ag-i-ma ( the war chief) Sa-naw-waw-ne at other times had been accepted; and he felt in his heart if he could reach Chicago in time, he could prevent the conflict which he knew could only result in evil to his people.

But he was then at his summer home in Michigan 100 miles away. He at once informed my mother’s father, Saw-awk, and Chief To-pa-na-bee, an uncle of mine. The three started in great haste on horseback around the head of Lake Michigan, and by riding all night reached Chicago the next morning, just before the battle began, but too late for counsel or advice.

At the close of the fight, my father and the two chiefs who were with him from Michigan were counseled regarding the terms of surrender. The lives of the survivors were all spared except the officer of the fort.

With regard to him, Sa-naw-waw-ne, the war chief, and his warriors, most of whom were from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and many of whom were Winnebagoes, declared "that if he did not die of his wounds before a-bit a-tib-i-kad (midnight), his life should be taken."

The war chief revengefully charged the officer with breaking his pledge in not turning over the provisions, firearms, and whiskey in the fort, which he maliciously destroyed.

He protested emphatically that it had not been their intention, or even desire, to take the lives of any of the garrison, but only to take them as prisoners of war, that they might control Fort Dearborn, and Chicago as well, believing that, against such overpowering numbers, the garrison would surrender without a fight, as did that at Fort Mackinaw a few days before.

Others charged the wounded man with having acted on the advice of the arch-traitor Captain Wells, who rushed headlong through their lines before a bow was bent or gun was fired, shooting their warriors, who fell like leaves before the autumn blast. It was therefore through his fault that so many Indian warriors were lying dead on wad-ge (the mound) about him. My father tried in vain to persuade the war chief to spare the life of the wounded officer.

While the victorious braves were holding a powwow, my father and his two friends, under cover of darkness, quietly stole away the wounded officer, carried him down the terrace to the shore of Lake Michigan, where he and his relatives, with some other friendly Indians, put him into a boat, where they had secured some more of the unfortunates, and rowed them across Lake Michigan to St. Joseph, thence up the St. Joseph River to the old Pokagon village, near the present site of the city of Niles, to my father’s wigwam, where they were kindly cared for until their wounds were nearly healed.

A few days after their arrival, an Indian came across the lake and reported that the Winnebago warriors were coming to the Pokagon village to retake the prisoners, whereupon they were taken down the lake in a boat to Mackinaw Island, 300 miles away, and delivered over to the British as prisoners of war. This was done by the advice of the wounded officer, who told the friendly Indians that was the safest course. All the prisoners promised before their God that they would reward us richly for our kindness, but they were never heard from after.

Nearly all the rest of the prisoners were taken north to Green Bay, Wisconsin. In order not to shield my own people from blame, I give the following account of their usage and final disposal.

We must fancy ourselves at the Pottawatomie village on Green Bay, Wisconsin, 200 miles from Chicago. Ten days have passed since the battle. There comes along the winding trails from the south a long line of dusky warriors on their return home. They have in guard several white prisoners. Among them is a fair young pale-faced mother carrying an infant child of about five months old.

The inhabitants of the village have been informed they are coming, and are swarming out to meet them. They learn from them that many of their friends have been killed on the war path. Hark! Hear their wailing and cursing; and see – they now seek revenge by pulling the prisoners’ hair and cuffing them.

The women and children of the village come marching out of the camp with sticks and clubs. They are forming in two long single lines, facing each other a few feet apart. They have ordered the prisoners to run the gauntlet. One by one they rush down between the two lines of the women and children, while savage blows are rained down upon them thick and fast, amid laughing, yelling, and cursing.

There stands near the head of the lines, appearing unmoved, the young mother with her child. Is it possible they will compel her to run the gauntlet too? Yes, see, they are ordering her forward now! She looks down between the long lines of uplifted sticks and clubs, folds her blanket close around her child, and breathes a silent prayer.

There she goes, running between the lines while the blows fall thick upon her head and shoulders. The race is run; she passes the goal bruised and bleeding, but the child, thank Heaven! Remains untouched. There she stands, without a tear, expecting no pity and asking no mercy.

But look once more! An elderly Indian woman goes running towards her, and whispers in her ear, "Come, go with me." They go into a wigwam; the Indian feeds her, binds up her wounds, kindly cares for her, and saves her life.

During the fall and winter that young mother, carrying her child, accompanied by several other prisoners and the Indian warriors, set out from the village on Green Bay with the promise of being delivered over to the Americans under the regulations of the war.

They went south around Lake Michigan, then north through the wilderness of Michigan to Mackinaw Island, which she found in the hands of the English and Indians. Copied from www.gballard.net.

From there she was taken through deep snows, half starved and less than half clothed, still carrying her child, to Detroit. To her disappointment, that place was found in the hands of the English, the race to whom she belonged.

Instead of receiving and taking care of her, they allowed her to go away with the Indians to Fort Meigs, where General Harrison was in command of the United States troops. She was delivered to him, and was finally sent home to her parents in Ohio.

This young mother and the other prisoners traveled over 900 miles on foot, carrying her child through a wilderness of deep snows and fierce blizzards....

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