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Tenskwatawa, whose name means "open door," was a Shawnee Indian from present-day Ohio who fiercely opposed Indian removal. Tenskwatawa was a revered religious figure among the Shawnee, and he advocated a return to Indian customs and preached that performing certain sacred rituals would make the Shawnee impervious to the white man's bullets. He also denounced drunkenness and the drinking of whiskey. He worked to enlist support for his brother Tecumseh's confederacy that would unite Indian tribes to fight against the U. S. government and drive white settlers out of the Old Northwest (present-day Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio). Tecumseh's uprising failed, and Tenskwatawa and other Shawnees were eventually removed to Indian Territory in present-day Kansas. This portrait by famed artist George Catlin was painted during one of Catlin's visits to Kansas in 1831. The portrait shows Tenskwatawa holding a medicine stick and a sacred string of beans; it also shows where he was accidentally blinded by an arrow. The original painting is housed in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Creator: Catlin, George, 1796-1872
This portrait can be used within discussions of Indian resistance to removal, as Tenskwatawa was a well-known figure nationally.
KS:7th:1.4:Indian Removal (2005)
Item Number: 208379
Call Number: E99 S35.I Pro *2
Holding Institution: The original painting is housed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Collections - Photograph
Community Life - Religion - American Indian
Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - Prehistory to 1854 (Benchmark 1) - Indian Removal Act (Indicator 4) - Indian resistance to removal
Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - Prehistory to 1854 (Benchmark 1) - Indian Removal Act (Indicator 4) - Loss of land and resources
Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - Prehistory to 1854 (Benchmark 1) - Indian Removal Act (Indicator 4) - Shawnee
Date - 1800-1854
Government and Politics - Federal Government - Federal agencies and programs - Policies and programs - Land - Indian Removal Act
Objects and Artifacts - Communication Artifacts - Documentary Artifact - Photograph
People - American Indians - Indian lands
People - American Indians - Indian removal
People - American Indians - Tribes - Shawnee
People - Notable People - Catlin, George, 1796-1872
People - Notable People - Tenskwatawa
Thematic Time Period - Indian Territory, 1820-1854
Type of Material - Photographs