Thursday, December 6, 2012

Was Tecumseh a Christian?: Of Guns and Farming

They say to get a lot of comments on a blog, you should write about something controversial.  I think I got most of the main controversies just in the title so I guess we'll see lol.  Anyhow, someone asked me an interesting question the other day: Was Tecumseh a Christian?  Tecumseh was one of the War Chiefs of the Shawnee indian tribe and arguably the most famous.  He pulled together many of the tribes into a confederacy to try to stand up against the americans invading indian territory.  I'm certainly no expert on this subject, but I am half Shawnee myself and so I've read a few books and our family tradition says that we're directly descended from one of Tecumseh's siblings.
I researched this question for the asker and I decided it is certainly possible that Tecumseh was a christian-he was said to have read the Bible and he spent time around many whites who would have been and/or claimed to be Christian.  Most importantly, he lived by and endorsed many christian-like principles that contrasted strongly with the culture he grew up in-such as not killing and torturing innocents.
However, if he was actually a christian it was something he came to on his own instead of through the missionaries.  It is something strangely American that a "good" person is a peaceful person who never has anger and certainly does not carry weapons.  Americans during Tecumseh's time believed that indians were sincere in their peacefulness only when they gave up their weapons.  While you may say this is was a trick to beat the indians, look at today's attitude.  The ultimate goal of worldpeace is the disarming of the world.  Everyone gives up their weapons from the smallest gun to the biggest nuke.  
It's easy to see why a European might be intimidated by a Shawnee warrior
The Shawnees believed otherwise.  They believed peace was only possible if everyone was equally armed.  Tecumseh went to war for peace and he certainly never gave up his weapons.  He evidenced no guilt or shame about this either, which many of the "Jesus Indians" did.  Jesus indians were christian indians, particularly those who had gone to live in the missions.  They gave up their weapons, their indian clothes and ceremonies and became "tame."  
Tecumseh was as far from tame as possible.  He endorsed christian ideals and still carried his war club.  He was able to nurture his tribe and scalp his enemies.  Whether Tecumseh was a christian or not, I believe this is more accurate christianity than the tame mission indians.  Similar to a Jesus who endorsed peacemaking, but whipped the moneylenders in the temple for being disrespectful.
So what does this have to do with farming?  Tecumseh's attitude reminded me of what it was like to be a farmer (hence why I'm blogging about this subject).  Farming is a peaceful activity where the farmer is always at war.  You are constantly fighting against thieves-generally of the 4-legged variety.  Coyotes and dogs dig under the fences, racoons climb over, mountain lions leap over.  The livestock sometimes attack each other such as when we almost lost Petunia (our female pig) because Hamlet got into her pen and was very insistent about showing her his love.  It was not easy getting a 250 lb hog off his girlfriend and he could have easily turned around and attacked us, although luckily he's a good boy.
My point is that farmers should own guns and that this is a good thing.  Owning a weapon doesn't mean you're a bloodthirsty killer or that you're irresponsible.  Tecumseh was the ultimate weapon owner and he was able to be a man who was so loving and nurturing and responsible that thousands of indians gathered to him.  I have known many city slickers, who are totally anti-gun, go into farming and within a year or so most of them have bought a gun.  Not because they are going to rob a bank, but because you have to be able to protect the innocents under you.
What do you think?  

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