Ta'wineonawira ("Otter-Tooth"), previously known as Robert Springer, was a time traveler who sought to rouse the Kahnyen'kehaka of the 18th century to fight against the European settlers, proclaiming that failure to do so would lead to a future in which the people and culture of the Kahnyen'kehaka would be forgotten and disappeared.
Robert Springer was the leader of the group that called themselves the Montauk Five, which was part of the American Indian Movement. They disappeared on November 1, 1968; only a handful of people know that they were time travelers.
Under the guidance of a man named Raymond, Springer – taking the name Ta'wineonawira, "Otter-Tooth" – and four companions attempted to time travel through a stone circle on Ocracoke. Their original intent was to travel to the 1760s and persuade various tribes to ally with the British forces, insuring a British victory after the Revolution, but Otter-Tooth wanted to go further and stop the tribes from associating with white men altogether. To accomplish this, he overshot the mark and arrived about fifty years before the others, alone.
He sought out and insinuated himself with a Mohawk tribe, expostulating about the dangers of allying with the colonists, telling them that their people and their ways will be forgotten if they do not oppose the white invaders. Some men listened, but others in the tribe resisted his ravings, and soon Otter-Tooth caused such disharmony in the village that the sachem arrived at the conclusion that Otter-Tooth must leave. He did, but he returned often, coming and going with a demon in his eyes.
Finally the war chief of the village determined that he must stay away, or else be killed. He wouldn't leave, so they tortured him, painted his face black as was appropriate for a prisoner to be executed, and tied him up overnight. The next morning, he was gone. The men pursued him for four days, until finally catching him up and killing him.
But even when Otter-Tooth was dead, the men heard his voice, his warnings that the Iroquois would be forgotten, that all would one day be lost. They cut off his head and hung it from a spruce tree, but still they could hear him. One man volunteered to take the head far away from the village, to the south, and bury it. After that, they no longer heard the voice of the stranger.
Events of the NovelsEdit
In August 1768, Claire leaves the Mueller homestead in the midst of a severe storm, loses her horse, finds a human skull, and meets the ghost of Ta'wineonawira.
In October 1772, Young Ian returns to Fraser's Ridge after living with the Mohawks. With him Ian brings a gift for Claire from Tewaktenyonh. It is the diary of "Otter-Tooth" previously known as Robert Singer. The diary talks about his and four others (Rains Hard, Strong Walker, Six Turtles, and Talks With Spirits) traveled through time under the guidance of a man named Raymond.
In autumn of 1773, while held hostage by a violent group of men, Claire meets Wendigo Donner, who had been part of the same group of time travelers at Robert Springer.
Determined, with a manic fixation on preventing the Indians from accommodating and adopting the customs of the white settlers.
- Robert is from the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning "bright fame", derived from the Germanic elements hrod "fame" and beraht "bright".
- Springer is possibly a nickname for a lively person or for a traveling entertainer, from an agent derivative of Middle English, Middle High German springen, Middle Dutch springhen, Yiddish shpringen "to jump or leap". An alternative meaning is as a topographic name for someone who lived by a fountain or the source of a stream, Middle English spring ‘spring’ + the habitational suffix -er. The same word was also used of a plantation of young trees, and in some cases this may be the source of the surname.