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Black Hawk or Black Sparrow Hawk (Sauk Makataimeshekiakiak (Mahkate:wi-meši-ke:hke:hkwa), "be a large black hawk") (Spring 1767 – October 3, 1838) was a leader and warrior of the Sauk American Indian tribe in what is now the United Statesmarker. Although he had inherited an important historic medicine bundle, he was not a hereditary civil chief of the Sauk, but was an appointed war chief. He was generally known in English as Black Hawk.

During the War of 1812, Black Hawk fought on the side of the Britishmarker. 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 Iowamarker. He left behind an enduring legacy through many eponyms, and other tributes.

Early life

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 Saukenukmarker on the Rock River, in present-day Rock Islandmarker, Illinoismarker 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.

Military career

The War of 1812

Black Hawk served as the leader of a band of Sauks at Saukenukmarker. He had always been opposed to ceding Native American lands to white settlers and their governments. In particular, he denied the validity of Quashquame's 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 Statesmarker. This treaty was subsequently disputed by Black Hawk and other members of the tribes because the full tribal councils had not been consulted, nor did those representing the tribes have authorization to cede lands. Black Hawk participated in skirmishes against the newly constructed Fort Madisonmarker in the disputed land; this was the first time he fought directly with U.S. forces.



When the War of 1812 erupted between Great Britainmarker and her northern American colonies and the United States, Colonel Robert Dickson, an English fur trader, amassed a sizable force of Native Americans at Green Baymarker to assist the British in operations around the Great Lakesmarker. 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 quite 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 Eriemarker. Black Hawk was at the battle of Fort Meigsmarker, 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 that 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 in campaigns along the Mississippi River near the Illinois Territory. Black Hawk helped to push the Europeans out of the upper Mississippi River valley, at the Battle of Credit Islandmarker and by harassing U.S. troops at Fort Johnsonmarker. 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.

Black Hawk War

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 Illinoismarker and moved west of the Mississippimarker 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 and 1831 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 Britishmarker, he again moved his so-called "British Band" of around 1,000 warriors and non-combatants into Illinois. Finding no allies, he attempted to return to Iowamarker, but the undisciplined Illinois militia's actions led to the Battle of Stillman's Runmarker. 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 Tribes. 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 joined, or attempt to join Black Hawk, and others carried 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 massacremarker. 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 Heightsmarker it led to the decisive clash of the war at Bad Axemarker. At the mouth of the Bad Axe River, hundreds of men, women and children were killed by pursuing soldiers, their Indian allies, and a U.S. gunboat.

Tour of the East

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 Barracksmarker with Neapope, White Cloud, and eight other leaders of the British Band. After eight 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.marker, they met with Jackson and Secretary of War Lewis Cass, though their final destination was prison at Fortress Monroemarker in Virginiamarker. 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 Yorkmarker, Baltimoremarker and Philadelphiamarker. Reaction in the west, however, was much different. For instance, in Detroitmarker, 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, Ohiomarker, as interpreted by Antoine LeClaire and edited by J.B. Patterson. The book immediately became a best seller.

Last Days



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 3, 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 Countymarker. 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 Burlingtonmarker 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.

Legacy

A sculpture by Lorado Taft overlooks the Rock River in Oregon, Illinoismarker, titled The Eternal Indian, this statue is commonly known as the Black Hawk Statuemarker. 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 one of few wars 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.

The Iowa Hawkeye athletic teams of the University of Iowamarker are all named after Black Hawk, via an editor of the Burlington Hawk Eye newspaper who admired Black Hawk's memory.

The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League are indirectly named after Chief Black Hawk. The Blackhawks' first owner, Frederic McLaughlin, was a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. This Division was nicknamed the "Blackhawk Division" after Chief Black Hawk. McLaughlin named the hockey team in honor of the military unit.

The United States Army named the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter for the famous Sauk Chief. The U.S. Army generally uses Native American names for its aircraft.

See also



References

  1. Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States, Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, pg. 66
  2. Ilminen, Gary. "The Great Chiefs: Black Hawk: Tactical Genius of the Sauk & Fox," Native Peoples, Vol. 19, No. 5, September/October 2006, pp. 74–76, 78.
  3. Smith, William Rudolph. The History of Wisconsin: In Three Parts, Historical, Documentary, and Descriptive, ( Google Books), B. Brown: 1854, pp. 221–406. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  4. Trask, Kerry A. Black Hawk: The Battle for the Heart of America, ( Google Books), Henry Holt: 2006, p. 109, 308, (ISBN 0805077588), pp. 220-221. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
  5. Lewis, James. " The Black Hawk War of 1832: FAQ," Abraham Lincoln Digitization Project, Northern Illinois University. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
  6. Lewis, James. " Background," The Black Hawk War of 1832, Abraham Lincoln Digitization Project, Northern Illinois University. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  7. Lewis, James. " The Black Hawk War of 1832," Abraham Lincoln Digitization Project, Northern Illinois University. Retrieved August 1 2007.
  8. " May 14: Black Hawk's Victory at the Battle of Stillman's Run," Historic Diaries: The Black Hawk War, Wisconsin State Historical Society. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
  9. Harmet, "Apple River Fort," p. 13-13.
  10. Lewis, James. " Introduction," The Black Hawk War of 1832, Abraham Lincoln Digitization Project, Northern Illinois University. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  11. Lewis, "Introduction."
  12. " May 21, Indian Creek, Ill.: Abduction of the Hall Sisters," Historic Diaries: The Black Hawk War, Wisconsin State Historical Society. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  13. Matile, Roger. " The Black Hawk War: Massacre at Indian Creek," Ledger-Sentinel (Oswego, Illinois), 31 May 2007. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  14. " The Killing of Felix St. Vrain," Historic Diaries: Black Hawk War, Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  15. McCann, Dennis. " Black Hawk's name, country's shame lives on," Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, April 28 2007. Retrieved July 30 2007.
  16. Lewis, James. " The Black Hawk War of 1832," Abraham Lincoln Digitization Project, Northern Illinois University, p. 2D. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  17. " Black Hawk Remembers Village Life Along the Mississippi," History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web, George Mason University. Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  18. Black Hawk; LeClair, Antoine, interpreter; Patterson, J. B., editor, 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, J. B. Patterson, Oquawka, IL: 1882, ( Table of Contents). Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  19. Oregon Sculpture Trail, The Eternal Indian, City of Oregon. Retrieved 28 September 2007.
  20. Shannon, B. Clay. Still Casting Shadows: A Shared Mosaic of U.S. History, ( Google Books), iUniverse, New York: 2006, p. 215, (ISBN 0595397239). Retrieved 26 October 2007.
  21. O'Hanlon-Lincoln, Ceane. County Chronicles: A Vivid Collection of Fayette County, Pennsylvania Histories, ( Google Books), Mechling Bookbindery: 2004, pp. 129–30, (ISBN 0976056348). Retrieved 4 October 2007.
  22. http://www.netstate.com/states/intro/ia_intro.htm


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