"I like to watch," said Mitch watching Liz strip for two men.
They were all war chiefs, every one. The peace chiefs ran things in the day to day, and always counseled the cautious path forward, given the chance and the choice.
But when the day to day was tinged with the blood of the people -- where peaceful villages had been attacked and burned with women and children paying for the greed of the settlers as the white 'Fathers' preached peace and joint prosperity when they offered treaty after treaty, none of them honored by their own subjects ...
While the Red Man had to listen as he was talked down to as though he were a slightly slow child, hearing how the leader of them was the 'father' and how the white settler was his 'brother', and then coming home to find his 'brothers' squatting on the land that had just been promised to him ...
Dirty cheating lies, all of it.
Nehaseemo was on his way to visit with a good friend. Sometimes it was good to hear a different view. He was a war chief himself, though as yet little-known with only a few followers. Mostly, he rode with his brothers and other male relations; Blue Jacket, Dragging Canoe, his brothers Cheeseekau and Tecumseh, though Cheeseekau had been killed three years ago now in Tennessee.
As far as they were concerned, it would be best if the whites were pushed back into the sea from whence they'd come, but that wasn't going to happen. Tecumseh had noticed something though.
To try to turn one tribe against another to further the ends of the whites came as nothing to their leaders. The Americans hated the British and vice versa. Why not use this in the same way?
It had been done before to limited success, but that was when it was still the fractious tribes seeking a toehold. Perhaps with a united front where the enmity of one white man was played against the other it all might come out better. The brothers were agreed on one other thing as well.
None of them could be trusted.
But it had been Tecumseh's idea to find out how their northern allies fared in their dealings with the British and so here he was, going to visit Assiginack, an Ojibwa chief and an old friend. 'Old' was perhaps an incorrect description, however. The man was in his early thirties, but Nehaseemo had first met him when he himself had been fifteen and Assiginack had been a brave and the two had just formed a friendship, liking each other instantly.
Assiginack never joked or kidded the younger man about his lack of years, guessing that he came in for enough of it in the usual course of events and Nehaseemo learned from the other one's every move and spoken thought and was thankful for it. The youngest sons of war chiefs in a busy time get fewer opportunities to learn and Assiginack knew this.
Assiginack never preached war, but he wasn't afraid of it either.
Nehaseemo was working his way northward, having met a pair of Odawa warriors. He was in no hurry. The two had agreed to take him to Manitoulin Island, but had asked for a couple of days to settle a few things and spend a little time with their families at Shawanaga . So while that went on, Nehaseemo was out in one of their canoes, poking around a little to the north of Penetanguishene, and thinking about doing a little fishing. It was already pretty late for it, so he stopped paddling long enough to get his buckskin shirt off.
He'd been to Manitoulin Island before, but had never come up from the eastern side. It was a shorter journey to come from the west, but for the moment, Nehaseemo had enough of the rhetoric to be heard from both sides and had no desire to pass Michilimackinac to have to hear any more. He knew that there was war in the air. It was just a matter of time no matter how he saw it and it was plain that the British saw their starting position as lacking, to judge by the way that their few military resources were being stretched over impossible distances.
Another sure sign to his mind was the way that they were making overtures, seeking support from the indigenous tribes wit