From: Carolyn Mae Pigg


Tecumseh and the New Madrid Earthquake

written 11pm 11/8/91 by David Yarrow

“The story you are about to be told is true….” Indeed, the three responses to this topic are excerpts taken from “The Frontiersmen,” an authentic historical novel describing how the white man took the Ohio Valley and Kentucky from the Indians. The events they describe are also recorded in several other authentic historical novels, one of which is the biography of Tecumseh entitled “Panther-Across-the-Sky,” which, unfortunately, I’ve not had the opportunity to read yet.

When I studied Earth Science, I learned about the New Madrid earthquake — the most violent and destructive tremor ever to strike North America in recorded history. Centered in New Madrid, Illinois, where the Ohio and Missouri rivers meet the Mississippi, this massive quake severely shook the entire eastern half of the continent. Chimneys fell all the way up in Maine from this one. And it wasn’t merely a single quake, but a series of them spanning a period of four months.

The New Madrid quake is especially intriguing not only because of its unparalleled power, but also because it occurred in an area which is normally devoid of tectonic activity, including earthquakes. The implication is that this monster quake originated far deeper in the North American crust than is usual for an earthquake.

When I studied American History, I learned about William Henry Harrison, a U.S. military leader on the western frontier who had to confront the great Indian leader Tecumseh, who tried in a prolonged process of diplomacy to unite the Indian tribes into a grand confederacy. Although Harrison never actually fought Tecumseh, he later went on to be elected President of the United States, largely on the strength of his reputation as a frontier Indian fighter — a warrior image that continues to hold great charisma in the American psyche. Tecumseh, too, was portrayed in my history lessons as a great and powerful warrior, whereas he was in truth a diplomat, a peacemaker and, most intriguing of all, a prophet.

However, what I was never was taught by either Earth Science of American History is that Tecumseh didn’t merely predicted the New Madrid earthquake. In truth, Tecumseh didn’t merely “predict” this tectonic event, he actually “prophesied” this greatest earthquake ever to hit the continent. Tecumseh’s prophecy was given many months in advance of the quake, and was accurate down to the very day it occurred. One of the odd enigmas of truth hidden under the veneer of American History is that this quake was actually his signal to the Indians of North America to unite in an army and drive the invading, land stealing whites off the continent.

This true story reveals a hidden dimension to American History and Geology which shakes not only the earth, but our very rational conceptions of the relationship between Science and Spirit, between Geology and Gaia. This is what I call “Herstory,” and it is covered up because it forces us to confront certain political, racial and spiritual realities that are embarrassingly inconsistent with official dogmas. Yet, any thoughtful person must give a long pause to contemplate the implications of this untold tale.

What might any geologist give to know how Tecumseh was able to predict with such accuracy? Most likely, what a geologist would have to sacrifice are his own sacrosant beliefs in the separation of Science and Spirit.

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for a green and peaceful planet for the Seventh Generation
David Yarrow     at     Turtle EyeLand
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Eve, the earthworm sez: If yer not forest, yer against us.
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Tecumseh and the New Madrid Earthquake

Part One: Tecumseh’s Birth and Boyhood

[The following narrative is taken from The Frontiersman by Allan W. Eckert (© 1967). In the Author’s Note, Eckert wrote: “This book is fact, not fiction. Certain techniques normally associated with the novel form have been utilized, but in no case has this been at the expense of historical accuracy. In no case has there been any ‘whole cloth’ fabrication or fanciful fictionalization. Equally, every incident described in this book actually occurred; every date is historically accurate; and every character, regardless of how major or minor, actually lived the role in which he is portrayed.”]

Wednesday, March 9, 1768

As he had done on occasion ever since childhood, the Shawnee chief Pucksinwah contemplated the multitude of stars sparkling with such life and beauty in the deep cloudless and moonless sky. Now that the fire had died to a dim orange bed of coals and the women squatted around it had lapsed into uncommon silence, these jewels of the night seemed to draw even closer and become more tangible, as if waiting to be plucked.

Only rarely was the stillness broken by a soft cry from within the hastily erected shelter beyond the fire where Methotasa — A-Turtle-Laying-Her-Eggs-in-the-Sand — waited delivery of her child. It would have been better had they been able to continue the journey to Chillicothe. The village was only three arrow flights to the northwest of them, but the time to bear fruit had come and further travel, however short, would have been dangerous to both Methotasa and the infant.

Though extremely anxious to reach this principal town of the Chalahgawtha sept, Pucksinwah nevertheless stayed behind with his 12-year-old son, Chiksika, and 10-year-old daughter, Tecumapese, along with half a dozen women of his clan who would help in the delivery. The remainder of his Kispokotha sept of the Shawnees he sent on to the village with word of his whereabouts and his promise to appear on the morrow at the large msi-kah-mi-qui, or council house.

Nearly 600 strong, these followers of his represented about two-thirds of the population of Kispoko Town on the west bank of the Scioto River. Similar groups from the other four Shawnee septs were also converging for this highly important council at Chillicothe. For over five years tribal representatives had been meeting here at intervals in an effort to decide what the Shawnees, as a nation, must do about the white man who, despite those treaties forbidding it, was crossing the mountains to the east and spilling into the valleys of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny and Allegheny.

Although the Shawnee septs were individual entities and governed themselves, each was an important branch of the Shawnee tribe as a whole, and each had a distinct office or duty to perform for the benefit of the tribe. The Peckuwe sept, for instance, had charge of the maintenance of order or duty, and looked after the celebration of matters pertaining to Shawnee religion. It was to this sept that Methotasa had belonged before Pucksinwah had taken her as wife.

The Maykujay clan controlled matters pertaining to health, medicine and food. The Kispokotha sept, on the other hand, was in charge of all circumstances of warfare, including the preparation and training of warriors.

But the two most powerful septs were the Thawegila and Chalahgawtha, which had charge of all things political and all matters affecting the entire tribe. These two septs were equal in power, and from one of them the principal chief of the Shawnees had to come. The chiefs of the other septs were subordinate to the principal chief in all matters of importance to the tribe but, in circumstances pertaining to their own jurisdiction, they were independent chiefs. The Thawegila, Kispokotha and Peckuwe septs were closely related morally and politically, while the Maykujay and Chalahgawtha septs always stood together, as they had in times past during occasional instances of tribal dissension.

So it was now in this problem of the encroachment of the whites. It was such a serious problem that strong lines of dissension had formed which threatened to cause a permanent breach in the nation; at least so it was feared by the principal chief, Hokolesqua — Cornstalk — a Chalahgawtha Shawnee. His sept and the Maykujays took the stand that “we had better make peace with the white people, as they are outnumbering us and increasing fast. It seems Moneto — God — is with them. Let us make peace with them and be always in peace with them.

“No!” said the Thawegila, Kispokotha and Peckuwe chiefs. “Let us not make peace with the white people. Let us fight them until one or the other of us is destroyed to the last man.”

Pucksinwah shook his head sadly. To the very marrow of his bones he knew there could never be a true peace between whites and Indians. As surely as summer follows spring, the whites would not stop at the river valley of western Pennsylvania. Inevitably they would spread down the Spay-lay-wi-theepi — Ohio River — to settle in the great and sacred hunting grounds of Can-tuc-kee. The Shawnees from the north and Cherokee from the south might share the bounty of that land below the great river, but no tribe — nor white man! — must be permitted to take up permanent residence there.

Had not over a century of friction between Indians and whites proven that nothing could be gained by talk of peace? When treaties had been signed and boundaries established in the past, had not these whites treated the Indians with unfeigned loathing, and had they not broken the boundaries almost immediately after they were established?

This was why the current council at the Little Miami River village of Chillicothe was so important to Pucksinwah. Largest of the Shawnee towns, it was centrally located to all the septs and more than 5000 Shawnee men would be on hand. And this time it would be his turn to speak without interruption in the msi-kah-mi-qui. He would pray to Moneto to bring powerful words to his lips that he might convince the Chalahgawtha and Maykujay septs that there could never exist an suitable peace between Indians and whites.

He raised his eyes skyward, but the prayer died aborning as a huge meteor suddenly plunged into the atmosphere and burst into brilliant greenish-white flame. It streaked across the heavens from the north in an awe-inspiring spectacle which lasted fully twenty seconds.

Pucksinwah had heard of such occurrences, but not before had he seen anything so breathtaking as this, and the tales of the old people came back to him now: this shooting star was The Panther, a great spirit passing over to the south where it seeks a deep hole for sleep. Every night it passes somewhere on the earth to go to that home in the south. It was a good sign indeed, and Pucksinwah arose and stepped briskly to the fire where the women were clustered, chattering excitedly, for they too had seen it.

From within the temporary shelter came the sharp wail of a baby. Pucksinwah waited quietly, the murmur of voices from inside almost lost in the gurgle of water from the great bubbling spring beside the shelter. Soon the infant’s crying faded aw.