Kishen'ke Painting by Hand
As in many Indigenous cultures, Shawnee people did not traditionally create portraits or images of themselves. In contrast, colonists and their descendants have been fashioning representation of Native American people for centuries. There is an abundance of renderings of Tecumseh, a Shawnee leader.
Based on a few portraits created while he was alive, non-Indigenous artists have created numerous iterations over the last two hundred years; altering his clothing, changing scenery and adjusting his facial features. In 2018, an artist in Michigan determined that Tecumseh needed to look more Shawnee, and created a new painting based on consultation with a non-Indigenous historian. Representations created without tribal consultation can easily fuel misconceptions about Indigenous people.
How would one go about creating a respectful portrait of Tecumseh? Recently, an educational game development company reached out to the Tribe to do just that. In consultation with the tribe and tribal experts, Schell Games created a historically accurate depiction of Tecumseh for the game History Maker VR.