Tecumseh and the Dream
Tecumseh and the Dream is the story of the confederacy that Tecumseh and his peers envisioned and struggled for. It is on the southern branch of the site that this dream is depicted on the landscape, and it is here that the dedicated Tecumseh monument is found. Click one of the following links for more detail:
Visitors who exit the Arrival and Orientation Area towards the Tecumseh and the Dream area arrive at a small circular plaza. Here they are introduced to the story of Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet, in more detail, as well as the confederacy they envisioned. The central plaza area features an engraved or sandblasted map of Tecumseh’s world, and includes the names and places where his supporters resided. In the centre of the plaza, a rough stone bench features a quote from Harrison and one from Tecumseh, demonstrating their wildly differing perspectives on the issue of Indian
rights and lands. Visitors may sit on the bench, where they are able to read the story of the lesson Tecumseh tried to teach to Harrison by use of a similar bench. Around the outside perimeter of the plaza are low graphics that encircle the space. One side features the story of Tecumseh himself, his origins and his efforts leading up to his death at the Battle of the Thames. On the opposite side is a similar arrangement that features the story of his brother Tenskwatawa, and his role in the building a movement and confederacy.
Visitors move from the Confederacy Gateway to a garden that is arranged to allow free-flow movement. This space feels organic and natural, but has some subtle thematic elements. Ground surfaces, plant material, and colour are used to create a braided effect, similar to that of a winding stream with interlaced branches. This garden feels more ephemeral, more fleeting in nature, evoking the spirit of fragility that ultimately led to the demise of Tecumseh’s dream. Located throughout this space are fourteen nodes that interpret the various tribes and nations that supported
Tecumseh and the Prophet in their quest to define a confederacy. Each node is identified by a small grove of saplings that has been bound together in a bunch, to represent unity and allegiances, and is identified by a small, low graphic or embedment. Instead of a formally defined walkway, the braided nature of the surfaces in the grove allow visitors to take multiple approaches to the Tecumseh Monument, or to ascend a small mound overlooking the grove.
The Confederacy Overlook is the counterpoint to the Battle Overlook. Here, visitors experience the outcomes of the Battle of the Thames from the perspective of the Confederacy’s members. Interpretation includes the story of Tecumseh’s death, the mystery of his burial site, the impact of the defeat on the confederacy itself and its members as they began a new struggle for recognition and survival.
This area is organized so that visitors are looking outwards, towards the battle field and to the
broader world outside. These are the places where the warriors melted away after the battle, to other battles and aggressions that continued to diminish the Indian way of life, and to nearby communities where modern First Nations continue to reside today. A combination of graphics, embedments and etchings will be used to communicate the four or five stories present around the perimeter. Lines may also be used here to denote places and battles that can be linked to the outcome of Tecumseh’s death.
The monument is intended to be an evocative, naturalized work of art. Made of natural Ohio or Indiana stone, the monument itself will be a commissioned work of art, reflective of the themes of the park rather than a literal sculpture. The monument area is oriented on a north-south axis, pointing towards Tecumseh’s birth place, and is monumental enough in
scale to adequately celebrate his memory.
The location for the monument is set away from the main visitor areas, accessible but distinct enough to offer some space for reflection and ceremonial activity if required.