Tecumseh Says “Be Your True Self Now”

If Tecumseh of the Shawnee were here today, he might say "Be your true self now"

I grew up in the small town of West Lafayette, Indiana, a town in Tippecanoe County.  The country has its name because it contains the site of the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Some people say this battle was the informal start of the War of 1812, though the formal start didn’t occur until six months later. One side of the battle were members of a confederacy of Native American tribes led by Tecumseh of the Shawnee.  The other side was a group of American soldiers under the command of William Henry Harrison, who would become President Harrison in 1840.

Be your true self now

I was not aware of this poem attributed to Tecumseh until it was used in the 2012 movie Act of Valor.  Many people in my world expressed appreciation for this poem:  I’m taking a certain degree of poetic license with the spacing.

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, and 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’m hoping that you’ll feel some of the similar vibrations between this poem and certain parts of Steps to Knowledge.  Tecumseh had a prescription for the disease of fear.  Tecumseh told people to build the four pillars of their lives.  Tecumseh considered death as a return to his Ancient Home.

I’ve mentioned other historical figures who I believe have attained to this remarkable phenomenon we call Knowledge.  I’m entertaining the possibility that Tecumseh was one of those people.  What do I consider the shorter version of this poem? “Be your true self now, shield yourself from the fear of death, the seed of all other fears.”


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