Chief Black Hawk
Black Hawk or Black Sparrow Hawk (Sauk Makataimeshekiakiak (Mahkate:wi-meši-ke:hke:hkwa), "be a large black hawk") (1767 – October 3, 1838) was a leader and warrior of the Sauk American Indian tribe in what is now the United States. While he had inherited an important historic medicine bundle, he was not a hereditary civil chief of the Sauk, but was an appointed war chief, and was generally known in English as Black Hawk. During the War of 1812 he fought on the side of the British. Later he led a band of Sauk and Fox warriors against settlers in Illinois and present-day Wisconsin in the 1832 Black Hawk War. After the war he was captured and taken to the eastern U.S. where he and other British Band leaders toured several cities. Black Hawk died in 1838 in what is now southeastern Iowa. Black Hawk has left behind an enduring legacy through many eponyms, and other tributes. Jim Thorpe is often incorrectly declared as directly related to Black Hawk.----------------Black Hawk, or Black Sparrow Hawk (Sauk Makataimeshekiakiak (Mahkate:wi-meši-ke:hke:hkwa), "be a large black hawk") was born in the village of Saukenuk on the Rock River, in present-day Rock Island, Illinois in 1767.The Sauk used the village in the summer, for raising corn and as a burial site, while moving across the Mississippi for winter hunts and fur trapping. Black Hawk was born a great-grandson of Thunder, Nanamakee, who was an important principal chief among the Sauk. Although Black Hawk was never a civil chief, he often led war parties and had killed his first man by the time he was 15 years old.Before his 18th birthday he had led war parties to victory.------------Black Hawk, the leader of a band of Sauks near Rock Island at Saukenuk, had always been opposed to ceding Native American lands to white settlers and their governments. Black Hawk, in particular, denied the validity of an important 1804 treaty between the Sauk and Fox nations and then Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison. The treaty ceded territory, including Saukenuk, to the United States.This treaty was subsequently disputed by Black Hawk and other members of the tribes, since the full tribal councils had not been consulted, nor did those representing the tribes have authorization to cede lands.------------- When the War of 1812 erupted between the United Kingdom and the United States, Colonel Robert Dickson, an English fur trader, amassed a sizable force of Native Americans at Green Bay to assist the British in operations around the Great Lakes. Most of the warriors Dickson assembled were from the Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, Kickapoo and Ottawa tribes. Dickson then summoned Black Hawk's Band of about 200 Sauk warriors. When Black Hawk arrived he was given command of all Natives gathered at Green Bay, presented with a silk flag, a medal, and a written certificate of good behavior and alliance with the British. In addition, Dickson bestowed upon Black Hawk the rank of brevet Brigadier General.The certificate would be found 20 years later, after the Battle of Bad Axe, carefully preserved along with a flag very similar to the one Dickson gave to Black Hawk.--------- During the war, Black Hawk and his warriors fought in several engagements with Major-General Henry Procter on the borders of Lake Erie. Black Hawk was present at the battle of Fort Meigs, and the attack on Fort Stephenson. The British and the Indian Confederacy, led by Tecumseh, were repulsed with great losses to the British. Black Hawk despaired over the waste of lives caused by the use of European attack methods; soon after, he quit the war to return home. Back in Saukenuk he found his rival Keokuk had become the tribe's war chief. However, Black Hawk rejoined the effort toward the end of the war and participated alongside the British on campaigns along the Mississippi River near the Illinois Territory.After the War of 1812 ended, Black Hawk signed a peace treaty in May 1816 that re-affirmed the treaty of 1804, a provision of which Black Hawk later protested ignorance.---------------As a consequence of an 1804 treaty between the Governor of Indiana Territory and a group of Sauk and Fox leaders regarding land settlement, the Sauk and Fox tribes vacated their lands in Illinois and moved west of the Mississippi in 1828. However, Chief Black Hawk and others disputed the treaty, claiming that the full tribal councils had not been consulted, nor did those representing the tribes have authorization to cede lands. Angered by the loss of his birthplace, between 1830–31 Black Hawk led a number of incursions across the Mississippi River, but was persuaded to return west each time without bloodshed. In April 1832, encouraged by promises of alliance with other tribes and the British, he again moved his so-called "British Band" of around 1000 warriors and non-combatants into Illinois. Finding no allies, he attempted to return to Iowa, but the undisciplined Illinois militia's actions led to the Battle of Stillman's Run. A number of other engagements followed, and the militias of Michigan Territory and Illinois were mobilized to hunt down Black Hawk's Band. The conflict became known as the Black Hawk War. Black Hawk's British Band was composed of about 500 warriors and 1,000 old men, women and children when they crossed the Mississippi on April 5.The group included members of the Sauk, Fox and Kickapoo Nations. They crossed the river near the mouth of the Iowa River and then followed the Rock River northeast. Along the way they passed the ruins of Saukenuk and headed for the village of Ho-Chunk prophet White Cloud.------------- As the war progressed factions of other tribes would join, or attempt to join Black Hawk, and others would carry out acts of violence for their own personal reasons amidst the chaos of the war. In one example a band of hostile Ho-Chunk intent on joining Black Hawk's Band attacked and killed the party of Felix St. Vrain after the outbreak of war in an event that became known as the St. Vrain massacre. This act, was, however, an exception as most Ho-Chunk sided with the United States during the Black Hawk War.The warriors that attacked St. Vrain's party acted with no authority or oversight from the Ho-Chunk nation. Sympathetic Potawatomi warriors also joined with Black Hawk's Band in the months between April and August.------------- The war stretched from April to August 1832 and a number of battles, skirmishes and massacres took place. When the Illinois Militia and Michigan Territory Militia finally caught up with Black Hawk's "British Band" following the Battle of Wisconsin Heights it would lead to the decisive clash of the war at Bad Axe. At the mouth of the Bad Axe River, hundreds of men, women and children would be killed by pursuing soldiers, their Indian allies, and a U.S. gunboat.------------Following the Black Hawk War, with most of the British Band dead and the rest captured or disbanded, the defeated Chief Black Hawk was held in captivity at Jefferson Barracks with Neapope, White Cloud, and eight other leaders of the British Band.After 8 months, in April 1833, they were taken east, as ordered by then U.S. President Andrew Jackson. The men traveled by steamboat, carriage, and railroad, and met with large crowds wherever they went. Once in Washington, D.C., they met with Jackson and Secretary of War Lewis Cass, though their final destination was prison at Fortress Monroe in Virginia.They stayed only a few weeks at the prison, during which they mostly posed for portraits by different artists. On June 5, 1833, the men were sent west by steamboat on a circuitous route that took them through many large cities. Again, the men were a spectacle everywhere they went, and met with huge crowds of people in cities such as New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia.Reaction in the west, however, was much different. For instance, in Detroit, a crowd burned and hanged effigies of the prisoners.------------- Near the end of his captivity in 1833, Black Hawk told his life story to a government interpreter, which was edited by a local reporter and became the first Native American autobiography published in the United States. The Autobiography of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, or Black Hawk, Embracing the Traditions of his Nation, Various Wars In Which He Has Been Engaged, and His Account of the Cause and General History of the Black Hawk War of 1832, His Surrender, and Travels Through the United States. Also Life, Death and Burial of the Old Chief, Together with a History of the Black Hawk War was published in 1833 in Cincinnati, Ohio , as interpreted by Antoine LeClaire and edited by J.B. Patterson. The book immediately became a best seller.-----After that tour, Black Hawk was transferred back to his nation, and he lived with them along the Iowa River and later the Des Moines River in what is now southeast Iowa. He died on October 31, 1838 after two weeks of illness, and was buried on the farm of his friend James Jordan on the north bank of the Des Moines River in Davis County. In July 1839, his remains were stolen by James Turner who prepared his skeleton for exhibition. Black Hawk’s sons Nashashuk and Gamesett went to Governor Robert Lucas of Iowa Territory, who used his influence to bring the bones to security in his offices in Burlington where, with the permission of the Chief's sons, they were left in the care of the Burlington Geological and Historical Society. When the Society's building burned down in 1855, Black Hawk’s remains were destroyed.---------A sculpture by Lorado Taft overlooks the Rock River in Oregon, Illinois, titled The Eternal Indian, this statue is commonly known as the Black Hawk Statue. In modern times Black Hawk has become a tragic hero and a large number of present-day commemorations exist. These are mostly in the form of eponyms; roads, sports teams and schools are commonly named after Black Hawk. Of all the wars fought in United States history, the Black Hawk War is the only one named for a person.----------- The claim that Jim Thorpe is directly related to Black Hawk has been debunked by his daughter Grace.She said that the family was descended from the "Thunder Clan" (Black Hawk's clan) but there was no direct relation to Black Hawk. However, Black Hawk was one of Thorpe's heroes; his daughter said he stated that being descended from the same clan as Black Hawk made him as proud as his Olympic gold medals. Part of the confusion about the Thorpe–Black Hawk connection probably comes from the fact that his mother, Charlotte, was descended from a Potawatomi chief, Louis Vieux.