Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Native American Biography: Black Hawk and Keokuk: Sauk

Black Hawk represented the warring faction of the Sauk tribe, and Keokuk the peace faction.  Black Hawk grew up in the Rock River area.  He learned to hate the White encroachers when a party of Sauk traveled to St. Louis to sue for the release of a Sauk brave.  The governor of Indiana territory got them drunk, had them sign papers ceding all territory east of the Mississippi, paying them with the money he had spent on getting them drunk.  The treaty did not go into effect for a couple years, but when it did the people were furious as they were kicked off their property.  Black Hawk aligned with Tecumseh during the War of 1812 fighting with the British against the Americans.  Most of the Sauk moved across the Mississippi for United States protection during the war.  Those who had stayed chose Keokuk as their chief while Black Hawk was away.  However it was Black Hawk who rallied the Sauk after the war.  The treaty of Ghent had caught him off guard, and he continued his own person war against the Americans.  Keokuk continued to argue for winter hunt in 1829, when they returned their territory had been occupied their village of Saukenuk.  Most of the Sauk moved to Iowa, but Black Hawk refused.  In 1831 Saukenuk was destroyed.  Black Hawk's people escaped across the river.  The Black Hawk War occurred in 1832.  White Cloud, a Winnebago prophet inspired Black Hawk.  He crossed the river at the head of 600 warriors, Fox and Sauk.  However he had hoped others would join him, and this did not materialize.   Black Hawk and his warriors fought north, into Wisconsin.  Those who were left attempted to cross the Mississippi River, facing a war ship and the federals.  Many who managed to cross were killed by the Sioux.  Black Hawk made it to a Winnebago village where he was forced to surrender.  He was taken south to meet President Andrew Jackson, and imprisoned at Fortress Monroe.  He was confined a year, then sent on a tour of the East.  The leadership of the Sauk had passed to Keokuk.
Keokuk while Black Hawk was away, Keokuk, a peach chief was chosen as war chief of those who remained in Saukenuk.  there were rumors of an approaching American force, and many wanted to flee.  Keokuk suggested they stay and build defenses, which they did, but the army never came.  They remained in Saukenuk on the eastern side of the Mississippi until 1829, when they were told they would have to leave to comply with previous treaties.  Keokuk with many Sauk complied.  Black Hawk did not which lead to the Black Hawk War.  Black Hawk was defeated and Keokuk took over leadership of his people.  He made further concessions, and eventually all the Sauk territory in Iowa was also ceded and the Sauk were forced to Kansas.
White Cloud was known as the Winnebago prophet.  He was a prophet and medicine man.  Prophetstown, Illinois, the place of his birth, is named after him.  He predicted that the British and others would come to the aid of Black Hawk during the Black Hawk War.  When this did not happen he lost his influence.  He was taken prisoner with Black Hawk, went to Washington to meet Andrew Jackson, and then Fortress Monroe in Florida before being allowed to return to the West.

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