Born in 1768 in Ohio, Tecumseh was well liked by his peers, even as a child. When his father was killed in battle with white men, his brother Chiksika took Tecumseh under his wing and taught him the ways of the Shawnee warriors. The two remained close until Chiksika's death, also in battle with white men. As Tecumseh came of age, changes were rapidly taking place in the Shawnee culture. The European lifestyle brought by the white settlers was encroaching upon the Indians. Thus the Indians slowly adopted parts of the white man's culture. Not all of these lifestyle changes had bad effects upon the Indians. But things such as European diseases that the tribal medicine men were unable to cure took their toll upon the Indians. Materialism was another problem that the Indians, who were in the past a communal people, had to deal with. The frontiersmen also introduced the Indians to whiskey, which paved the way for alcoholism amongst the tribes" people.
Lalawethika, Tecumseh's "ne'er do well" younger brother wasn't very well liked. He never developed the skills of a warrior that Tecumseh possessed, and was a poor provider for his family. He was a hardened alcoholic by his mid-twenties. After a failed attempt at being a shaman, Lalawethika went into a deep trance one night after he had had too much to drink. It was so deep in fact that his wife and neighbors thought he was dead. When he awoke he claimed that the Master of Life had chosen him to return and lead the Indians to salvation through his new religion. Now known as Tenskwatwa, or more commonly in the book as the Prophet, he began to expand his new religion. The religion spread quickly and soon had many followers, but by 1809, following the Treaty of Fort Wayne, Tecumseh stepped from behind the shadow of the Prophet and became the main leader of the Indian movement. Being a war chief however, Tecumseh believed that "only assertive political and military leadership could protect the Indian land base.