Both Red Jacket and Tecumseh use speech to urge fellow attendees of meetings. In 1805 Red Jacket addresses a white missionary at a council of chiefs of the Six Nations in the speech “[The Great Spirit Has Made Us All].” Red Jacket tries to make the missionary see that the religions of the Native Americans and the religion of the white men are different and should not be forced upon each other. In the winter of 1811-1812 Tecumseh tries to rally the Osages in his quest to take back native land in a bloody battle against the white men. While Red Jacket’s speech is moderate in tone and generally free of inflammatory language, Tecumseh makes extensive use of powerful metaphors, similes, and analogies in his speech.
One of the main differences between Red Jacket and Tecumseh’s speeches are the tone of voice. Red Jacket is more moderate in his appeal to the missionary. Red Jacket directly addresses some of the challenges that native peoples face, and he does not shy away from the wrongs done to them by white settlers. Yet Red Jacket counts on the missionary seeing his logic and seeing the injustice done to Red Jacket’s people. Red Jacket does not insult or belittle the man, frequently addressing him as a “Brother.” Red Jacket uses a peaceful angle. He concludes with a blessing that will join his people with the white man missionary literally by holding hands: “As we are going to part, we will come and take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on your journey and return you safe to your friends.” Red Jacket expects that his speech is enough to stop the missionary from violently enforcing his religion on Red Jacket’s people. He operates on the assumption that the missionary wants the best, most harmonious outcome possible. Overall, Red Jacket displays a wealth of trust for the missionary and white settlers, confident that while they may not speak the same language of faith, they speak the same language of peace.
Tecumseh, on the other hand, speaks with an undercurrent of tremendous anger. He does not leave any room open for compromise because his faith in the white settlers acting out of fairness and good faith is nonexistent. One thing that characterizes the depth of Tecumseh’s rage is his use of emphatic figures of speech to make a point. For example, Tecumseh says “The blood of many of our fathers and brothers has run like water on the ground, to satisfy the avarice of the white men,” comparing the blood of his people to water. He later calls white men “poisonous serpents” and “devastating winds.” Tecumseh also emphasizes the need for violence. At the end of his speech, Tecumseh shares Red Jacket’s vision of unity. However, whereas Red Jacket envisions unity of white men and native men Tecumseh means uniting his fellow native brothers in violent revenge against white men.
Tecumseh and Red Jacket discuss the colonization of America in a similar way. Both acknowledge the ways in which the white settlers were helpless, and both men recognize how the native peoples made a great effort to accommodate the Europeans but they were betrayed. Admittedly, Red Jacket is speaking six years before Tecumseh, and his speech reflects a touch of hope that the white men will see the errors of their ways. Six years later, Tecumseh has no hope left. He is explicit in his mission: to harm the white men out of revenge and to halt a ceaseless genocide of his people. If one were to look at no other evidence from this chapter of Native American-white settlers history it is clear that Red Jacket’s approach towards peace and reconciliation fell on deaf ears. Six years later, as reflected in Tecumseh’s speech, no love was lost between the settlers and the native peoples. Red Jacket’s quest failed.