On a day in early November of 1811, American Indians fighting for their independence in the young Indiana Territory were dealt a crushing defeat on this land just north and a bit east of what is now Lafayette. Many Shawnee had settled in the area, which made white settlers nervous, and tensions began to mount. Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison brought his army nearby; Tecumseh and his brother the Prophet led Shawnee forces in an ill-fated attack against them. Both sides suffered many casualties, but ultimately Harrison’s army drove the Shawnee out of the region.
On a day in early April of 2007, my sons and I stopped at the battle site, which is now a park with this 1908 monument as its centerpiece. My youngest son lingered here, solemnly reading the plaques on each side which counted the American dead and noted the number of Indian dead simply as “unknown.”