Tecumseh planned to journey south into a rugged terrain of the American frontier to recruit assimilation-resistant southern Indians to his banner and make the case for a united effort against white encroachment. From his speech at Vincennes to the Creek village of Tukabatchee (or "Tuckabatchee"), on the banks of the Tallapoosa River, Tecumseh would travel through the heart of disparate Indian nations. The Shawnees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Upper and Lower Creeks all jealously guarded their customs, traditions, and territories. These were not squatters on U.S. lands, nor were the various groups bound together by a shared sense of cultural victimization. They were sovereign nations whose histories in this territory stretched back over centuries and many of whom were as likely to fight one another as to unite against the Americans.
Thus, Tecumseh had to carry their message down across the rolling hills of the Kentucky piedmont, over the lush bottom lands of the basin fed by the Tennessee River, and into the heart of present-day Alabama. Indian tribes, some hostile, some friendly, occupied much of this territory. As Tecumseh looked south, however, the spotty settlements of white homesteads dotting the landscape, here and there, were a sinister omen. From his point of view, the Indian tribes must put aside old hates and recognize a new enemy. No treaty would keep the white Americans out of Indian lands, and he believed that the only way for the various tribes to ensure their survival was to unite. Tecumseh made no secret of his plans and looked to bring his message to the powerful Creek Indians gathering on the banks of the Tallapoosa at Tukabatchee.