30 March, 2011

Tecumseh And The Shawnee Way To Live And Die

Tecumseh, Shooting StarIf we look there is wisdom to be found in most cultures.

The following is a quote from the Shawnee Native American Tecumseh, sometimes known as Shooting Star, Tecumtha or Tekamthi.

His birthdate isn't known for sure but was probably around March 1768. He died, or rather was killed, at the Battle of the Thames, on October 5, 1813. His death signified the end of united Indian resistance against the Americans.

I won't go into the rights and wrongs of what happened but here is the quote from Tecumseh, who was something of a mystic along with being a warrior. They are surely guidelines, even for today, on how to live our lives:

"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, 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 its purpose in the service of your people.

Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the 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."


I think that says it all.

Further Reading:
Black Elk On Peace And At The Door Of Death

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5 comments:

  1. A timely post for me, Mike. A few hours ago I sat with my sister Sherri as she related events over the past week, month and year that she spent with her mother-in-law Peggy.

    Sherri was honored to have had that time with a woman of strong heart, who lived a hard life with strength, and chose her time to die with dignity.

    Regardless of the details, Peggy sang her death song like a hero going home and Sherri supported and honored that journey.

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  2. I love this quote and Therese's comment sent a shiver through my spine. 'Sing your death song and die like a hero going home' is wonderful. I think my grandad did this. The last time I saw him we both knew he was going to die, a look in the eyes of some shared knowledge. He'd been ill but was proud and happy until the end. He died a short while after I saw him. It was as if he had to see me, his granddaughter, before he could leave. I feel quite tearful, but so proud of Pops as I called him.

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  3. nice quote hard to think it was done so long ago

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  4. What beautiful words! And that last line is a definite keeper. May we all pass on like heroes going home.
    Trish

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  5. An excellent post Mike....sorry I am so late in commenting

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