TecumsehTecumseh, (1768-1813) Shawnee Chief

Tecumseh Quote

“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

~ Tecumseh

Ratings and Comments

connie, oklahoma

great one



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Chicago    3/20/06

The wisdom of native Americans.

Larice, Los Angeles

Well worth incorporating into my personal constitution of LIFE and LIVING!

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Anonymous    8/11/06

It is beautiful! i like it very much

David L Rosenthal

Gee, why wasn't he around to give a firm lecture to Torquemada about burning heretics at the stake? I cannot agree with the point about respecting others in their views, since any particular view could be completely unworthy of respect. And you can hardly demand respect from others with regard to your views, unless they happen to be worthy of respect. Religion is each man's own problem of course, but if a man is on the wrong road, a road leading to death, it is reasonable to point this out to him, and it seems to me a matter of conscience that one might do so. And somehow I just do not expect to die with a song on my lips (my bad). But the quote has merit, and is an interesting insight into the thinking of Tecumseh.

E Archer, NYC

Beautiful! Too bad sentiments like David's prevailed... Since the Native Americans 'did not know what was good for them' they were wiped out. Chalk another one up for Christianity.

Bill, Savannah
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Bill, Savannah E Archer, NYC 9/19/18

Not christanity, but the idea of manifest destiny as practiced by President Andrew Jackson (Democrat) and other progressives of the era.

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC Bill, Savannah 9/20/18

Yes, Bill, the true practice of Christianity did not wipe out the Indians and their culture, but the missionaries did with the help of the US military. The intent to Christianize the savages is well known. I don't have a problem with Jesus, I have a problem with slaughtering indigenous people in the name of civilizing them by Christians. In my Christian upbringing, we respected the native peoples and their agrarian ways, their sacred view of the Earth, and their spiritual traditions. Not all tribes are the same — just as all western cultures are not the same. Taking a superior stand based upon one's religion/philosophy is to declare the unbelievers inferior and thus subject to the commands of the superior. It's always about power — to ignore that is narcissism and self-righteousness, i.e. authoritarianism.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

Right on E!

Robert, Sarasota

Right on E! David, it's not the subject of the view that's being respected but the right to have a view.

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EGL, LA    12/20/06

Exquisite. And interesting to see how many categories it is recorded in. How many of the quotes we read have had such broad relevance: Agnostic, America, Compassion, Conscience, Courage, Death, Duty, Fear, Free Thought, Freedom, God, Happiness, Honor, Humility, Individual Rights, Integrity, Liberty, Love, Patriotism, Religion, Respect, Responsibility, Service, Spirituality, Tolerance, Truth, Victory, Wisdom.

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Anonymous    12/20/06


Griff, Greenville

There are many lessons for all of us within this thoughtful passage.

David L. Rosenthal, Vomiting in the toilet.

Archer, Reston, and Robert: You can not explain how anything in my comment supports Archer's irrational conclusion regarding my comment. Once again Archer is spewing irrational trash for his own pleasure and you have chosen to accept his distorted interpretation, rather than taking my comment on its face value. Archer's staement of bigoted, biased ignorance has tricked you into believing his unqualified assertion. Have you no brain of your own? Is your reading comprehension not independent of Archer's propagandizing? Or perhaps you can show some connection between what I wrote and his condemnation. You are all pathetic today.

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC David L. Rosenthal, Vomiting in the toilet. 9/20/18

I think these guys can think for themselves.  Frankly, I don't think I've changed anyone's mind ever on this blog.  Let honest dialog reveal what it does.

Phil B., Chicago

David, man, take a pill or something...its just a nice quote, nothing more. If you can't ease up on yourself, ease up on us! Life's too short for contrived angst.

Joe, St Petersburg FL

David-your analysis is accurate. I respect everyone's right to have a view, but to respect the view is taking it too far. I can't respect the view of the radical islamist that I either convert, become his slave or be slain. Respect that view and you may become extinct before you have that peaceful and hopeful death. Merry Christmas to all.

Me Again
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Me Again    12/22/06

AMEN. One Thousand Stars for this quote!

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Canada    3/30/07

It's beautiful. Tecumseh seems like a true hero with a righteous mind :)

rob, Bratislava


bob fluff, mouse town

woo ya sweet ya woo sweet ya woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sweet

Kirk, Scotland

Great quote sounds like he would have lived well living like this a bit like the aborigonies by the sound of it. It think lots of people could take bits from this quote.

Scott, Ohio

If EVERYONE would live by this quote the world would be great, but David, and Joe make very valid points. Would any of you agree to ignore Hitler's belief that all Jews should be exterminated? It's sad that my native american ancestors got lied to repeatedly, cheated, and murdered like they were.

victoria mott, la

i see what you mean

Allison, direct descendant of Tecumseh, TX

my favorite quote, and the most beautiful, imspirational thing i have ever heard.

Anonymous, Fort Wayne

Tecumseh's words (I have read the early transcripts) are nothing less than pure inspiration. A leader and pure man, his words are so powerful today. It leaves no doubt in my mind that if you are looking for the purest spirit that a human being might emulate; you need look no further than Shawnee Tecumseh, cut down in Ontario by Harrison's troops by the direct order of the United States Congress (as well as the last vestiges of the Miamis of Indiana) within the same years. Tecumseh has no grave, but he was the noblest and most fearless of them all. All gods bless you Tecumseh. Jim Alter Ft Wayne Indiana

Anonymous, Fort Wayne

To -- David L. Rosenthal, Vomiting in the toilet. and Joe, St Petersburg FL, you really should get over your life perceptions and get a straight view of the world (maybe 30 days in the desert would help) Worked for me some years ago. Advice for both of you; Read some real history, get away from the canned stuff. Go to Archives.com. It's all there, unedited, uncut, straight from the mouth genuine history. Jim Alter Ft. Wayne Indiana

Jim Alter, Fort Wayne, IN

To: Phil B., Chicago "David, man, take a pill or something...its just a nice quote, nothing more." WHAT? Phil B., do you think that Tecumseh was something like Paul Bunyan or Johnny Appleseed or some Disneyesce creation.? This is not a "nice quote". His is a statement that defines a nation of people and is "on record". This is the written word of a man speaking from pure conviction. and not afraid of pain or death. Now, today, what would you fellows think about doing if some savage invaded your town and burned your home and destroyed your food and killed a few of the kids and teenage men; then a couple of months later they return and burn your new village and destroy your new home and kill a few more of your young sons and destroy your food again. Could you or would you muster up the courage to fight back? There is no way that you fellows can justify your demeaning statements towards Tecumseh. He was THE leader of his time for his people (I mean the Confederation). No one could come close to him (certainly no one of the present day) in his natural wisdom and innate courage, and if you guys think that you are so superior to Tecumseh, you are flat out goofy.

Anon., Charlotte

One could live their lives by this quote alone. To David L. Rosenthal, Vomiting in the toilet, "Respect others in their views" is different from "respect the views of others." It is that exact distinction that I believe Archer was referring to; feeling your views to be correct and feeling yourself justified in "correcting" the views of others.

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC Anon., Charlotte 4/15/22

Exactly.  I respect your right to have an opinion and express it, but that doesn't mean I share it.

However, if your 'view' is not just an opinion but an obligation to  adhere to it, then you are NOT respecting the views of others.

A 'sacred view' has many facets.

Terry, Cincinnati

TerryI would strongly suugest Mr. Rosenthal read either "Panther In The Sky" authored by Alexander Thom, or "A Sorrow In Our Heart" authored by Alan Eckert. Both are expertly documented and written on the life of one of our most treasured ancestors. He was agreat chief and warrior who gave his life in the protection of his people and way of life. He also forbade the practice of torturing or killing captives which was common in those days by both whites and natives. To draw any sort of analogy between statements of Tecumseh and the actions of the Grand Inquisitor of Spain two centuries before is beyond ludicrous. Vomiting in the toilet...was probably bile. What an arrogant putz.

avri, salem

hes amazing

Cynthia A. Nelson, Philadelphia, PA

What profound words to live by!

Larry Carney, Clifford, ontario

Most of the comments above should listen to Tecumseh, and respect each other's views.

Harley Wylie, Victoria, BC, Canada

Chief Tecumseh was a gifted visionary, leader, strategist, politician that lived, and died, fighting alongside his allies, the British, for something he believed in. He died a military General. This quote should be put in the context of its time in history and North American tribes "global knowledge" rather than present day 20/20 hindsight. At the time of this quote there were tribes that had respect for others and the "new age religion" was Christianity; there was no knowledge of other countries religions, leaders or religious/cultural crimes against humanity. He was busy, with his allies, fighting to save a piece of the North American paradise for his people and their supporters. He lived life to the fullest, as he says in his quote. I have great respect for how he lived, and how/why he died. Respect, courage, honesty. How often do we really see those qualities in any of today's leaders?

Loca E' Essikikv, Pembroke, NC

Read the quote thoughtfully. Let your mind and heart hear the message. We, as Native Americans, respect all things that we encounter in this world and believe that to be the teaching of the Great Spirit. We do not feel the need to dominate and control the lives of other people, but to live our life in harmony with nature, other people and the Great Spirit.

chew lamb, pittsburg

-Larry Carney, I think you are right!

Gabby, New Albany

Doing a report, best resource yet!!! 5th grade. Used top quote.

Jennifer, Tecumseh

The quote is amazing, and eerily appropriate for the times we live in. I live in Tecumseh, Michigan, named for the Chief. The emblem of our high school sports is a Shawnee Indian head. Those who grew up outside our community, and want to jump on the political bandwagon say that this is disrepectful to our Native Americans. I say, if you know history of the Chief as a man, not just an image, there is no BETTER representation for the young people of our community to identify with...

morganFrancais, cambridge

Im doing a project on Tecumseh and i decided to see if he had an quotes and i tried looking it up, there it is a very beautiful quote that i personaly think is something to remeber. It really shows who Tecumseh was and what he repersents.

james sackett luna, philippines

chief tehcumseh's words are pure from the heart... he did not study poetry...

Paula S., Lubbock, TX

I originally come from Southern Ohio, the home of the Shawnee. My dad was a great lover of nature and lived his life so that he respected all living things. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer he never gave up and rarely, if ever, did he complain despite the pain we all knew he was in. When he lost his battle to cancer I read this at his memorial (actually, I attempted to read it but was overcome with such emotion that my cousin had to read it for me), there was not a dry eye in the house and many of our relatives came to me after and told me how beautiful it was. How it described him perfectly. I will always remember my dad as a warrior, as my hero.

Juan Iota
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Juan Iota    12/24/11

I think David Rosenthal is a miserable prick.

Mike, Caldwell

Great advice

Josh A, San Diego

The greatest form of disrespect is some one attempting to take my life my freedom or my ability to achieve happiness, any other for of disrespect is an imagined construct, one does not need to respect the view of an Islamic terrorist or a tyrant like hitler because he is already disrespecting you... as far as troubling some one about their religion he is right, people have too much invested in their believes, the quickest way to make violent enemies is to push yours on them...

Bill, Yonkers

Made my eyes tear with emotion. The possibility of encorporating any of the words of wisdom that chief tecumseh wrote would make my life richer! You can't read and try to disect these thoughts to try and find something to attack but just as loca E said let your mind hear the message!

Mike, Columbia, Missouri

Wise words for his time. Wise advice for our time. Wise words for all time.

Swamp, Windsor Ontario

You all do realize Tecumseh fought alongside the British in the War of 1812 He died in Canada fighting against Americans who were invading what is now Ontario

WarVet, King NC

Jim Alter, Fort Wayne, IN I like your thoughts. I would like to add that NONE of us can imagine what atrocities this man had lived through. None of us have had our intire nation destoyed before our eyes and still stood strong. He did not fade and had his nations song in his heart. I have seen good men with courage in their last moments and the are hero's!!!

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    beed    10/22/12

    live your life by this words and u won't fear death.

    RoN, Putney

    I do

    Rlee5454, Jax

    What a great quote and best intellectually stimulating fireworks I've read in a long time
    Thanx for posting it

    J Carlton, Calgary

    A brilliant observation...about the simple things in life. And the Rosenthal's of the world need to lighten up. OBVIOUSLY Tecumseh and any other rational human being will realize that the "views of others" to be respected MUST fall within the bounds of morality and justice. (miserable miserable miserable)

    Jean, Minneapolis

    This is the best New Years resolution in can think of to carry through the rest of my years. Such wisdom is refreshing!

    Marcia Studdard, Athens, TN

    Profound timeless words!

    Jesse Taylor, Oklahoma City, OK

    When you read this, concentrate on how it makes you feel. Try not to disect his words and in so doing misinterpret what he is saying. You can respect an enemy for their strength, but still know you must fight them. For instance, yes Hitler was a very bad man and his views were heavily twisted, but you can still respect his tactics, cunning and strength without believing how he does.

    Seth, Everywhere

    Who wouldn't find these words to live by?

    travis, pinson

    I have another Tecumseh quote from his address to Creeks in 1811.
    " We shall kill them, the men, even the women and children and we will dig up their graves so even their bones shall not rest on our land."
    Kind of puts things in perspective.

    Toni S., Beaumont, California

    Oh, if we can actually live these words! This goes beyond a personal religion, or doctrine, it encompasses all that is humane and real. If I can manage to live up to it, I would be truly happy.

    Toni S., Beaumont, California

    To Travis. Considering that the settlers came to destroy his country, slaughter his people and all indigenious people, take what did not belong to him.. oh, and do all lthis in the name of the LORD, let's not forget the Manifest Desting law. I can well understand how he felt. He also preached not to grovel to no man. What were they suupposed to do Travis? Would you have groveled?

    Elizabeth, Jonesboro Ar

    Misquoted on 14th line.. Tecumseh words were actually
    ... Drink not the poisonous firewater that turns wise men to fools and robs their spirit of its vision.

    empty pockets, NO, La

    "If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself."...Indeed.

    Mary - MI
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    Mary - MI    12/29/17

    Profound and wise words from the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh.

    Robert, Somewhere in the USA

    Ten Stars: Wow! what a lot of comments - perhaps we could pin this on the door of every child's bedroom, as I believe it's to late for their parent's. He tried to create an Indian state west of the Mississippi but, as usual, he was killed by the US Army.
    Then the Army moved in followed by the settler's.

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    abby    4/15/22

    Don't miss the point....

    Mary, MI
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    Mary, MI    4/15/22

    Profound and Astounding Beautiful Sentiments from Chief Tecumseh!

    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

    Interesting quote, but a more imminent concern has arrived at our social threshold.
    A Richard Bernard Moore awaits execution on I believe on April 29, 2022 in South Carolina. This action must be halted because of the moral authority that rest in all of our hearts when we examine those hearts. The heart tells us we are not to resort to inhumanity to resolve inhumane actions. As a responsible American as well as citizen of the world I demand this inhumane execution be halted and the sentence commuted to allow Mr Moore to recover his humanity if he hasn't already.

    Mark Austin, Bradenton

    the problem here is with the validity of the above quote, since he did not read or write then who recorded this? Most Indian sayings were written much later by newspapermen and most of it was fabricated. He did have a gift for speaking and united the tribes at one point to go to war against the Colonist,  he was killed after a battle that which he sided with the British against the Americans in 1814... his life would suggest otherwise https://www.britannica.com/biography/Tecumseh-Shawnee-chief


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