Washington: The Indian Prophecy (1770)

In 1755, a young Colonel George Washington fought under British General Edward Braddock against the French at Fort Duquesne [pronounced, “doo-cane”].  The British suffered a devastating defeat.  Fifteen years later, as Washington was surveying lands west of Virginia, he was met by a party of Indians.  An Indian chief, upon learning of Washington’s trip, had traveled to speak to him.  As the Indian party entered the camp, the chief pointed to Washington.  A council fire was lit and the chief told the story of the “great” battle at Fort Duquesne:

“I am a chief, and the ruler over many tribes.  My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to the far blue mountains.  I have traveled a long and weary path, that I might see the young warrior of the great battle.  It was on the day, when the white man's blood, mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first beheld this chief:  I called to my young men and said, ‘Mark yon tall and daring warrior?  He is not of the red-coat tribe- he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do- himself is alone exposed.  Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies.’  Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss- ‘twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded him from harm.  He cannot die in battle.

I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council-fire of my fathers, in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something, bids me speak, in the voice of prophecy.  Listen!  The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies- he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn, will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire!”  George Washington Parke CustisRecollections and Private Memoirs of Washington, 1860

James Still (July 2015)


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