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Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk
Category: History / Sauk Indians
Title: Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk
Release Date: 2006-04-30
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 25 March 2019
Count views: 91
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1843,
In the Clerk's Office of the District of Ohio.

Transcriber's Note: There are inconsistencies in the Index layout andin the spelling of tribal names. These have been left as originally printed.


In presenting to the public the life and adventures of Black Hawk, someaccount of the Sac and Fox Indians—of Keokuk, their distinguishedchief—and of the causes which led to the late contest between thesetribes and the United States, was necessarily involved. The introductionof these collateral subjects, may possibly impart additional interest tothis volume.

In speaking of the policy of the government towards the fragment of Sacsand Foxes, with whom Black Hawk was associated, it has been necessary tocensure some of its acts, and to comment with freedom upon the officialconduct of a few public officers.

The Indians are frequently denounced as faithless, ferocious anduntameable. Without going into the inquiry, how far this charge isfounded in truth, the question may be asked, has not the policy of ourgovernment contributed, essentially, to impart to them that character?Have we not more frequently met them in bad faith, than in a Christianspirit? and sustained our relations with them, more by the power of thesword than the law of kindness? In the inscrutable ways of Providence,the Indians are walking in ignorance and moral darkness. It is thesolemn duty, and should be the highest glory of this nation, to bringthem out of that condition, and elevate them in the scale of social andintellectual being. But, how is this duty performed? We gravelyrecognize them as an independent people, and treat them as vassals: Wemake solemn compacts with them, which we interpret as our interestdictates, but punish them if they follow the example: We admit theirtitle to the land which they occupy, and at the same time literallycompel them to sell it to us upon our own terms: We send agents andmissionaries to reclaim them from the error of their ways—to bring themfrom the hunter to the pastoral life; and yet permit our citizens todebase them by spirituous liquors, and cheat them out of their property:We make war upon them without any adequate cause—pursue them withoutmercy—and put them to death, without regard to age, sex or condition:And, then deliberately proclaim to the world, that they aresavages—cruel and untameable—degraded and faithless.

If the present volume shall, in any degree, contribute to awaken thepublic mind to a sense of the wrongs inflicted upon the Indians, and toarouse the Christian statesmen of this land, to the adoption of a moreliberal, upright and benevolent course of policy towards them,something will have been gained to the cause of humanity and of nationalhonor.

The author takes this opportunity of acknowledging his obligations toJames Hall, Esq., for the valuable assistance received from him, in thepreparation of this volume. In collecting the materials for thatmagnificent work, on which he is now engaged, "The History of theIndians of North America," this gentleman has become possessed of muchinteresting matter, in regard to the Sacs and Foxes, and especially thechief Keokuk; to all of which he has kindly permitted the author to haveaccess.

Cincinnati, May, 1838.


Origin of the Sac and Fox Indians—Removal to Green Bay—Their
subjugation of the Illini confederacy—Their attack upon St. Louis
in 1779—Col. George Rogers Clark relieves the town—Governor
Harrison's letter—Maj. Forsyth's account of the conquest of the
Illini—Death of the Sac chief Pontiac—Sac and Fox village on
Rock river—Description of the surrounding country—Civil polity
of the Sacs and Foxes—Legend about their chiefs—Division of
the tribes into families—Mode of burying their dead—Idea of a future
state—Their account of the creation of the world—Marriages—Social
relations—Music and musical instruments—Pike's visit to
them in 1805—Population—Character for courage   13

Treaty with the Sac and Fox Indians in 1789—treaty and cession of
land to the United States at St. Louis in 1804—Black Hawk's account
of this treaty—Erection of Fort Madison—The British excite
the Sac and Fox Indians to make war upon the United States—A
party under Black Hawk join the British standard in 1812—Treaty at
Portage des Sioux in 1815—Treaty of peace with Black Hawk and his
band at same place in 1816—Treaty for part of their lands in Missouri
in 1824—Treaty of Prairie des Chiens in 1825—Treaty for the mineral
region in 1829—Treaty of peace in 1832, after the "Black
Hawk war"—Present residence of the Sacs and Foxes      49

Birth of Black Hawk—Early adventures—Battles with the Osages and
Cherokees—Death of his father—Interview with Lieutenant Pike—Attack
upon Fort Madison—Joins the British in the late war—Marches
to lake Erie—Returns home after the attack upon Fort
Stephenson—Murder of his adopted son—Battle of the Sink-hole near
Cap au Gris—Treaty of peace at Portage des Sioux in 1816      74
Building of Fort Armstrong—The good Spirit of Rock Island—Death
of Black Hawk's children—Young Sac offers to die in place of his
brother—Black Hawk's visit to Malden—Whipped by some whites—Whites
settle at his village—Black Hawk's talk with Governor Coles
and Judge Hall—Sale of the lands on Rock river—Indians ordered to
remove—Agreement to remove for six thousand dollars—Memorial of
the white settlers to Governor Reynolds—The Governor's letters to
General Clark and General Gaines—The latter leaves Jefferson Barracks
with six companies of the United States troops for Rock Island—His
interview with Black Hawk—Calls upon the Governor of Illinois
for militia—The Indians abandon their village—treaty of peace made
with them—Official letters to the war department—Summary of the
causes which brought on this disturbance—Black Hawk's attempt to
form an alliance with other tribes      91

Keokuk's birth—Kills a Sioux when fifteen years old—Prevents the
abandonment of the Sac village—Bold manœuvre with the Sioux—Perils
his life for the safety of his people—Speech to the Menominies
at Prairie des Chiens—Called upon to lead his braves to join
in the Black Hawk war—Allays the excitement of his people on this
subject—Deposed from his post as head chief and a young man elected
in his place—Re-established in power—Delivers up his nephew to
the whites to be tried for murder—Letter to the Governor of
Illinois—Council at Washington in 1837—Retorts upon the Sioux—His
visit to Boston—His return home—His personal appearance—And
his character as a war and peace chief      118

Murder of twenty-eight Menominies by the Foxes of Black Hawk's
band—Naopope's visit to Malden—Black Hawk recrosses the
Mississippi—General Atkinson orders him to return—Stillman's
attack—Defeated by Black Hawk—His white flag fired upon—He sends
out war parties upon the frontier—Attack upon Fort Buffalo—General
Dodge's battle on the Wisconsin—Black Hawk and his band leave the
Four Lakes and fly to the Mississippi—Pursued by General Atkinson—Black
Hawk's flag of truce fired upon by the Captain of the
Warrior—Twenty-three Indians killed      143
General Atkinson overtakes Black Hawk—Battle of the Bad Axe—Atkinson's
official report—Incidents of the Battle—Capture of
Black Hawk and the prophet—Naopope's statement to General Scott—General
Scott and Governor Reynolds conclude a treaty with the
Sacs, Foxes and Winnebagoes—Causes which led to the war—Motives
for getting up Indian wars—First attack made by the Illinois
militia—Report of the Secretary at War in regard to this
campaign—General Macomb's letter to General Atkinson—Secretary
Cass' statement of the causes which led to this war—Comments upon
this statement, and its omissions pointed out      166

Black Hawk, Naopope, the Prophet and others confined at Jefferson
Barracks—In April 1833 sent to Washington—Interview with the
President—sent to Fortress Monroe—Their release—Visit the eastern
cities—Return to the Mississippi—Conference at Rock island between
Maj. Garland, Keokuk, Black Hawk and other chiefs—speeches
of Keokuk, Pashshepaho and Black Hawk—Final discharge of the
hostages—Their return to their families—Black Hawk's visit to
Washington in 1837—His return—His personal appearance—Military
talents—Intellectual and moral character      200

Black Hawk at the capture of Fort Erie--At the battle
of the Thames--His account of the death of Tecumthe--His
residence and mode of life after his last visit to the
east--His Fourth of July speech at fort Madison--His death and burial    234

Sketches of the Sioux       258
Colonization of the Indians       264
Indian Dancing Ceremonies       273
Sale of Whiskey to the Indians       281

INDEX.      285

[Pg 13]







Origin of the Sac and Fox Indians—Removal to Green Bay—Theirsubjugation of the Illini confederacy—Their attack upon St. Louis in1779—Col. George Rogers Clark relieves the town—Governor Harrison'sletter—Maj. Forsyth's account of the conquest of the Illini—Death ofthe Sac chief Pontiac—Sac and Fox village on Rock river—Descriptionof the surrounding country—Civil polity of the Sacs and Foxes—Legendabout their chiefs—Division of the tribes into families—Mode ofburying their dead—Idea of a future state—Their account of thecreation of the world—Marriages—Social relations—Music and musicalinstruments—Pike's visit to them in 1805—Population—Character forcourage.

The word Saukee, or O-sau-kee, now written Sauk or more commonly Sac, isderived from a compound in the Algonquin or Chippeway language,a-saw-we-kee, which means "yellow earth." Mus-qua-kee, the name of theFox Indians, signifies "red earth." These two tribes have long residedtogether, and now constitute one people, although there are someinternal regulations among them which tend to preserve a distinctivename and lineage. The chiefs, on ceremonial occasions, claim[Pg 14] to berepresentatives of independent tribes, but this distinction is nominal.For many years past the principal chief of the Sacs, has been, in fact,the chief of the Foxes likewise. They are united in peace and war, speakthe same language, claim the same territory, have similar manners andcustoms, and possess traditions which represent them as descended fromthe one common origin—the great Chippeway nation.

Both tribes originally resided upon the waters of the St. Lawrence. TheFoxes removed first to the west, and established themselves in theregion of Green Bay. Upon a river bearing their name, which empties intothe head of this Bay, they suffered a signal defeat by a combined bodyof French and Indians, at a place, since known as La Butte de Mort, orthe Hill of the Dead.[1] Subsequently to this battle, they were joinedby the Sacs, who having become involved in a war with the Iroquois orSix Nations, were also driven to the westward. They found theirrelatives, the Foxes, upon Green Bay, but so far reduced in numbers, bythe attacks of

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