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Published: Friday, 10/26/2001

Chief Tecumseh was not a `terrorist'

Columnist Liz Smith's claim that the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh was a terrorist who slaughtered “hundreds of men, women, and children” in Tennessee betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of frontier history. Tecumseh never fought in Tennessee and, contrary to Ms. Smith's assertion, was not defeated by Andrew Jackson. Nor was he a “terrorist.”

Tecumseh was the head of a Shawnee village in Indiana which he founded with his brother, the religious prophet Tenskwatawa. The brothers, after abandoning Ohio to the whites, sought to find a refuge in unoccupied territory where they could follow, without interference, the way of life prescribed in the prophet's revelations. Tecumseh's biographers, including most recently John Sugden, now agree that Tecumseh's original plan was to separate peacefully from whites.

In 1809, Indiana's territorial governor, William Henry Harrison, engineered a new land grab by negotiating a corrupt treaty at Fort Wayne. The governor bribed some chiefs, and excluded others from the deliberations. Tecumseh and the prophet refused to accept this so-called treaty, and rallied Indian opposition to any further loss of land. Harrison attacked their village in 1811 while Tecumseh was away on a mission to recruit allies.

When the United States went to war with Great Britain in the spring of 1812, Tecumseh, the prophet, and many of their followers resettled in Canada. When the U.S. army invaded Canada, Tecumseh and his warriors fought with the British in its defense, and died at the battle of the Thames.

A terrorist? Even Tecumseh's enemies testified that he was not only a man of great courage, but an honorable warrior who did not harm non-combatants and used his great influence to keep others from engaging in the kind of actions Ms. Smith now associates with his name. Her column is a sad example of propaganda and libel pretending to be “history.”

ALFRED A. CAVE

Professor of History

The University of Toledo

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Liz Smith has no business referencing history if she doesn't understand it. Her Oct. 18 column, “Terrorism on U.S. soil is not a new phenomenon,” regarding the Shawnee Tecumseh, is a great disservice to Native Americans and is a wrong interpretation of that man.

Yes, he did invoke terror in his enemies, but to use him as an analogy to today's terrorism is unacceptable.

Tecumseh grew up in a time when Europeans, then Americans, were expanding from their coastal colonies into the interior Indian homelands.

He was defending his homeland and attempted to rally independent tribes into a patriotic calling of Native Americans and to create an officially recognized, Indian nation.

If Ms. Smith wants to draw reference to American history, she should mention the last time our capital was attacked from abroad, when the British (now closest among allies!) burned the White House during the War of 1812 to invoke terror in our country.

PETER S. SHAWAKER

Pelham Road

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As an American-born citizen, it makes me angry that the Taliban and Osama bin Laden can order and/or sanction the murder of more than 5,000 people and still have the gall to act so self-righteous when we, as a “victim country,” retaliate against his terrorism.

Even as we drop destruction upon his evil, we also are dropping food and humanitarian supplies to the very people in his country he purports to “protect.”

The Taliban who support him are just as guilty by association with bin Laden. The abuse of women and children is just as evil as the murders on Sept. 11 because it is a slow and demeaning end to their lives.

Remember the John Lennon-Paul McCartney songs “Give peace a chance” and “All we need is love”? These women and children need for us to adopt that attitude.

I pray for the children who are learning that hate is right. They are the next generation of terrorists our children will have to deal with. We need to help them now.

CAROL COOK

Lyons, Ohio

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Roberta de Boer speaks of Ray Kest's gloomy police manpower assessments as if it were a perception vs. reality issue. She accuses Mr. Kest of painting pictures of bogeymen hiding under the bed waiting to carry our first-born away.

Let's see how this adds to Ms. de Boer's comfort level: There have been many instances in which the entire East Side and inner city have been patrolled by one, count 'em, one, police crew. Granted, this insanely inadequate condition lasts for only an hour, but how long does it take for disaster to strike? There have been even more frequent occasions when the inner city gets a two-man unit and East Toledo gets two officers as well.

Feel safer now? I can only speak for conditions at the Central District station but, from what other officers have related to me, these conditions exist at Scott Park and the Northwest station as well.

Meanwhile our command officers sit with their hands tied, unable to recall officers to meet minimum staffing levels. Remember that the next time Hizzoner crows about cutting the overtime budget, because that, my friends, is where the cuts are coming from!

As far as civilianization putting more officers on the street, that attempt has met with a resounding thud as far as our communications section is concerned. The department is in the process of forcing six officers from the streets back to the dispatcher chair due to civilian resignations. This flies in the face of the mayor's claims to the contrary.

I'm no numbers-cruncher, and I don't know bond ratings from Navy beans, but as a police officer I would certainly welcome the company of a large class of probationary officers sitting next to me in roll call, and I'm sure the citizens of Toledo would as well.

PATROLMAN DEAN POWERS

Walker Avenue

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The Afghans complain that our bombs are killing civilians, but what about our postal workers and newspaper editors? Are they not civilians? We need to stop being the good guys and fight fire with fire. When they send a few little bombs of anthrax virus, we need to send a big bomb of anthrax virus back to them in Afghanistan, or wherever we find it is coming from. Come on, Americans. Let us fight back like our Founding Fathers did to gain independence.

W.G. DECK

Holland

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Maybe I'm completely out of step with the rest of the country, but I fail to see how the media telling of the success that the terrorists are having with their anthrax attacks, and exactly where, is doing the general public any good.

Don't you think that if we'd just keep our mouths shut about this, they would feel the attacks were wasted and quit? Also, don't they have enough ideas of their own? Must we give them ideas about our water supply, smallpox, and use of aerosol cans to spread disease? Pogo had the right idea: “We have met the enemy and they is us!” Bring back World War II censorship!

JOHN R. HUFF

Douglas Road

The electoral process works just fine

In your recent editorial, “An agenda postponed,” you referred to the last presidential election as an “electoral disaster.”

I think you're forgetting that even though the Democrats won the popular vote, a large majority of the states in this United States of America were won by the Republicans.

I for one would not want to live in a system whereby only six or seven of the largest cities in the country elected a president. If you determined the outcome of an election by popular vote only, this could certainly become a reality.

Our Founding Fathers had a reason for devising the electoral process, and I think that it works rather well.

DAVE LINDAU

Wauseon



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