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Trespass

Chapter I: Preparations

Site of Bad Axe River Battle

Black Hawk

Sauk & Fox Indians

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THE LAST FULL SCALE INDIAN WAR ON THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE MISSISSIPPI OCCURRED IN 1832. THE BLACK HAWK WAR RESULTED IN THE END OF A SAUK INDIAN CULTURE IN NORTHWESTERN ILLINOIS THAT HAD LASTED HUNDREDS OF YEARS. DESPITE MULTIPLE TREATIES WITH VARYING EFFECTS ON DIFFERENT TRIBES, THE MICHIGAN TERRITORIAL MILITIA AND ELEMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY ESSENTIALLY MASSACRED BLACK HAWK’S SAUK TRIBE AT THE MOUTH OF THE BAD AXE RIVER WHERE IT EMPTIES INTO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER - IN WHAT IS NOW DE SOTO, WISCONSIN. NEAR THE END OF THE BLACK HAWK WAR, THE SAUKS LED BY BLACK HAWK ATTEMPTED TO ESCAPE FROM WISCONSIN INTO IOWA TO MAINTAIN THEIR TRIBE. SEVERAL YEARS PRIOR TO THE MASSACRE, BLACK HAWK AND HIS SAUK TRIBE HAD BEEN FORCED INTO EASTERN IOWA TERRITORY BY TREATIES NOT OF HIS MAKING. BLACK HAWK’S TRIBE CLAIMED LANDS OF SOUTHWESTERN WISCONSIN AND NORTHERN ILLINOIS WHERE THEY HAD RESIDED FOR MANY YEARS. UNFORTUNATELY DUE TO SETTLEMENT BY WHITE SQUATTERS AFTER THE BRITISH AMERICAN WAR, WESTWARD EXPANSION OF THE UNITED STATES FOLLOWING THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE IN 1803 AND UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT DECREES, WHITE AMERICANS IN THE AREA BELIEVED THE ROCK RIVER BASIN LAND NO LONGER BELONGED TO BLACK HAWK’S TRIBE. THEY THEREBY DISREGARDED ANY OWNERSHIP RIGHTS OF NATIVE INDIANS. BLACK HAWK’S EASTWARD CROSSING OF THE MISSISSIPPI BACK INTO NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS TO FIGHT FOR THE RETURN OF HIS LAND WAS IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH ENGLISH PROPERTY LAW WHICH THE UNITED STATES HAD ADOPTED. AS SAUK INDIANS, BLACK HAWK AND HIS TRIBE FELT THAT THE GREAT SPIRIT OWNED THE LAND AND THE RIGHTS TO HUNT, FISH, AND FARM THE LAND FROM BIRTH AS AN INDIAN NEVER CEASE. BLACK HAWK AND HIS SAUK TRIBE, AS WELL AS MANY OTHER NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN TRIBES, BELIEVED THAT LAND WAS NEVER FOR SALE. SINCE BLACK HAWK’S TRIBE OF SAUK INDIANS NEVER LEFT THE LAND, THE AMERICANS THAT BEGAN SETTLING MID AMERICA COMMITTED A BLATANT TRESPASS. FOLLOW ALONG AS BLACK HAWK WITH HIS ADOPTED SON, WHIRLING THUNDER, AND HIS TRIBE CROSSES THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO RECLAIM SAUK TRIBAL LANDS IN THE SPRING OF 1832. ULTIMATELY THIS DECISION TO RETURN TO THEIR SAUK HOMELAND ENDED IN AN AMERICAN MILITARY MASSACRE OF A VIBRANT TRIBE, INCLUDING WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHO HAD RESIDED PEACEFULLY IN THE ROCK


RIVER BASIN FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS PRIOR. ACT I - PLANNING A RETURN TO THE SAUK HOMELAND ROCK RIVER BASIN MARCH 1832 PLACE: NE IOWA TERRITORY ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER BANKS

BLACK HAWK

SON, YOU WILL BE IN MY POSITION SOON SOME DAY. WE WILL RECLAIM THE LANDS WHICH HAVE BEEN OURS SINCE OUR TRIBE’S FIRST BIRTH.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHY ARE WE HAVING TO RECLAIM WHAT IS ALREADY RIGHTFULLY OUR LAND.

Lithograph of battle scene

BLACK HAWK

BECAUSE OTHER INDIANS LED BY ANOTHER SAUK, KEOKUK, HAVE ALLOWED THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO LAY CLAIM AND EXCLUDE OUR TRIBE FROM OCCUPYING THE LAND.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHO WOULD MAKE SUCH AN AGREEMENT?

BLACK HAWK

WELL THERE ARE MANY WHO HAVE SHOWN FAVOR WITH THE WHITE MEN. THE TRIBES AND CHIEFS THAT DO WILL SUFFER IMMENSELY IN THE LONG TERM; AS THE WHITE MAN PLANS TO EXTINGUISH OUR TRIBE FROM THE CONTINENT ITSELF. THERE WILL BE NO WHERE TO GO.

WHIRLING THUNDER

Depiction of the Bad Axe battle scene

SO WE ARE FIGHTING BACK. TAKING A STAND.

BLACK HAWK

YES, OUR WAR COUNCIL MET LAST EVENING, AND WE WILL RAID THE WHITE SQUATTERS WHO HAVE LAID CLAIM TO PROPERTY SURROUNDING THE ROCK RIVER. THIS IS THE FERTILE LAND WE HAVE SO OFTEN USED FOR YEARS TO HARVEST AND NURTURE CROPS, HUNT BEAVERS, SQUIRRELS, DEER, AND BEAR.

WHIRLING THUNDER

AND THE GOOD FISHING WATERS OF THE ROCK WITH ITS PLENTIFUL BASS, WALLEYE, AND CRAPPIE.

President Andrew Jackson

BLACK HAWK

YES, I WANT OUR WAY OF LIFE RESTORED. WE WILL DIE OF DISEASE, FAMINE, AND COLD IF WE ARE FORCED TO 3


CONSTANTLY MOVE. WE WILL BE FORCED INTO NEBRASKA, WYOMING, AND THE GREAT MOUNTAINS WEST AND BEYOND, AND OTHER TRIBAL DESIGNATED AREAS IF WE DON’T TAKE A STAND NOW.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHO DECIDED IN THE FIRST PLACE THAT THIS ISN’T OUR LAND?

BLACK HAWK

IT WAS ONE LARGE AND MULTIPLE SEPARATE TREATIES WITH THE WHITE MEN. IN EXCHANGE FOR SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS WHICH WERE NEVER PAID, WE WERE TO BE PUSHED ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI.

WHIRLING THUNDER

Chief Shabona

SINCE WE STILL HAVE THE CANOES, WE ARE HEADING BACK.

BLACK HAWK

ABSOLUTELY. IT WILL ONLY TAKE AN HOUR. THE LAND ACROSS FROM DUBUQUE IS NOT FORTIFIED. THE UNITED STATES KEEPS THREATENING TO GUARD THE MISSISSIPPI, AND PREVENT US FROM CROSSING EVER AGAIN. THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS LAID CLAIM TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER ALSO.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO WE WILL KILL INNOCENT WHITE PEOPLE FATHER?

BLACK HAWK

Black Hawk

YES, BUT THEY ARE NOT INNOCENT AS THEY TOO ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS OUR LAND WHICH THEY HAVE TAKEN FROM OUR TRIBE. AT TIMES WE COULD CO - EXIST WITH THE SPANISH, FRENCH, AND ENGLISH. BUT THE UNITED STATES FEELS WE DON’T BELONG ON THEIR LAND WHICH THEY SAY THEY PURCHASED FROM THE FRENCH IN 1803. SOMETHING THEY CALL THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE. NO ONE DISCUSSED THIS WITH OUR TRIBE.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO WHEN DO WE TRAVEL?

BLACK HAWK

US steamboat Warrior engages Indians in canoes, Bad Axe Crossing

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TONIGHT AT SUNSET. THAT WAY NO ONE WILL BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR ANY ATTACKS. WE WILL BEGIN TO ESTABLISH CAMP IN PLACES WHERE WE HAVE LIVED BEFORE. IF ANYONE BOTHERS OUR TRIBE, THEN WE WILL CONSIDER THIS AN ACT OF WAR. SHOULD ANYONE LAY CLAIM TO OUR GREAT SPIRIT’S LAND, THEN OUR BIRTH RIGHT SUPERSEDES ANY CLAIM THAT ANY GOVERNMENT


MAY ALLOW. ANY CLAIMS BESIDES SAUK LAND CLAIMS ARE NOT CONSIDERED VALID BY OUR TRIBE.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO NO ONE REALLY OWNS THE LAND?

BLACK HAWK

CORRECT WHIRLING THUNDER. YOUR BIRTH ESTABLISHES YOUR PACT WITH THE GREAT SPIRIT TO USE THE LAND UPON WHICH YOU ARE BORN. WE DON’T LAY STAKES AND SURROUND WITH PROTECTION SPECIFIC LAND THAT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO THE GREAT SPIRIT.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO THIS ENGLISH COMMON LAW WHICH THE WHITE MAN CLAIMS IS THE LAW OF THE LAND, OR SO CALLED PROPERTY LAW, IS INCORRECT.

BLACK HAWK

Paintings such as this reflect the fear among whites of the Indians

ABSOLUTELY. AND THEY KNOW AS INDIANS WE DON’T HAVE SUCH LAWS. WE DON’T SET UP STAKES, FILE CLAIMS, RECORD TITLES IN AN OFFICE, NOR DO WE DRAW UP PAPERS TO PROVE THAT WE OWN THE LAND.

WHIRLING THUNDER

ENGLISH AND UNITED STATES LAND LAW IS A FARCE?

BLACK HAWK

YES BY INDIAN STANDARDS. THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS LEARNED THAT ENTRUSTING LAND BY FALSE STANDARDS CREATES WAR AMONGST WHITE MEN AND INDIAN TRIBES. THEY WILL NOT STOP UNTIL OUR TRIBE DIES. WE LOST MANY PEOPLE OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS BY DISEASE, COLD, AND HUNGER. WE NEED FOOD - ESPECIALLY CORN. MONEY DOESN’T HELP OUR TRIBE.

Depiction of the Bad Axe battle scene

WHIRLING THUNDER

AND NEITHER DOES ALCOHOL AS MANY BRAVES WERE DISCUSSING.

BLACK HAWK

YES THE WHITE MAN HAS TEMPTED INDIANS THROUGHOUT THE CONTINENT WITH ADDICTING MEDICINE CALLED ALCOHOL, WHICH TAKEN TO EXCESS CAUSES ONE TO WANT MORE AND MORE. IN FACT TAKING TOO MUCH WILL KILL OUR FELLOW TRIBESMEN.

Apple River Fort

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP FATHER?

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BLACK HAWK

YOU CAN CHECK OUT ALL THE CANOES. WE CANNOT TAKE ALL OUR BELONGINGS, ONLY ESSENTIALS. SINCE IT IS SPRING, THE WEATHER IS IN OUR FAVOR. THERE ARE FEW COLD EVENINGS LEFT FOR OUR TRIBE OF SAUK BRAVES.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WILL DO FATHER. I WILL MAKE CERTAIN THAT ALL OUR CANOES ARE READY TO GO.

BLACK HAWK

OUR PLAN IS TO ESTABLISH CAMP ON THE OTHER SIDE TONIGHT. THEN AT DAYBREAK WE WILL TRAVEL UP THE ROCK RIVER UNTIL WE ESTABLISH GOOD HUNTING AND FISHING GROUNDS. WE MAY BE FORCED TO FIGHT IMMEDIATELY AGAINST THE WHITE MEN. Bad Axe Battle Marker

WHIRLING THUNDER

AND TAKE A FEW SCALPS.

BLACK HAWK

YES, AND HOPEFULLY BY SURPRISE WE WILL HAVE REESTABLISHED OUR TRIBE ON THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. WE NEED NOT ANTAGONIZE THE WHITE MAN, AS HE HAS RIFLES WHICH CAN KILL MANY OF OUR TRIBESMEN.

WHIRLING THUNDER

Black Hawk

OK, I’M OFF TO THE BANK TO CHECK THE CANOES. ANY MORE CANOES WILL BE MADE FROM THE ABUNDANT ELM TREES IN THE AREA. WE WILL BEGIN TO ASSEMBLE RIGHT AT SUNSET AND GET AN EARLY START TO RETURN TO ILLINOIS TERRITORY.

BLACK HAWK

I’VE JUST BEEN INFORMED BY ONE OF OUR SCOUTS WHO HAS BEEN NEAR DUBUQUE THAT OUR TRIBE HAS BEEN SPOTTED. HE ADVISES TO HOLD OFF AS THE UNITED STATES MILITARY HAS BEEN PLACED ON ALERT FOR POSSIBLE INDIAN ATTACKS ON BOTH THE MILITARY AND WHITE SQUATTERS WHO HAVE TAKEN OUR LAND.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO WE WILL BE FORCED TO CAPITULATE FATHER? Wisconsin Heights

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BLACK HAWK

NO, RATHER WE WILL BE DELAYING THE MISSISSIPPI CROSSING UNTIL THE MOON IS GONE. AND WE WILL CROSS FURTHER SOUTH, JUST NORTH OF THE ROCK RIVER FLOW INTO THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI RIVER.


THE MOON IS SO BRIGHT NOW THAT WE WILL BE EASILY SPOTTED. WE WILL ALSO MOVE FURTHER SOUTH TO AVOID ANY MILITARY FIGHTS. IF WE ARE TO FIGHT THEM, IT WILL BE AN ATTACK OF AMBUSH. WE WANT THE UPPER HAND. I DON’T WANT THE ARMY KNOWING THAT WE HAVE RETURNED UNTIL WE ARE FORTIFIED ON THE EASTERN SIDE.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO WE WILL MOVE SOUTH TONIGHT IN IOWA TERRITORY?

BLACK HAWK

YES A FEW MILES UPSTREAM OF THE MISSISSIPPI’S NARROWING - JUST NORTH OF FORT ARMSTRONG - NEAR SAUKENUK, MY HOMELAND. IT IS THERE WHERE WE CAN MAKE A CROSSING IN A SPECIAL NARROWING OF THE MISSISSIPPI. THE WATER IS VERY DEEP AND THE CURRENT STRONG, HOWEVER I FEEL WE WILL BE ABLE TO AVOID BEING SPOTTED.

Gen E.P. Gaines

WHIRLING THUNDER

YES, I’LL PREPARE FOR OUR CANOES TO BE PADDLED TONIGHT WHILE WE BRING OUR HORSES TO MEET THEM HALFWAY BETWEEN THE ROCK AND APPLE RIVER. WE WILL CROSS WHEN THE MOON IS GONE.

BLACK HAWK

SO PLEASE TELL ME AGAIN WHERE THIS AREA IS THAT YOU FEEL WE CAN CROSS EASILY. IT IS AT THE NARROWS OF THE MISSISSIPPI?

WHIRLING THUNDER

YES FATHER. WE WILL EASILY BE ABLE TO CROSS IN A VERY SHORT TIME PERIOD. NO ONE WILL NOTICE OUR CANOES, AND WE WILL HAVE THE ADVANTAGE OF NOT ALLOWING US TO BE SEEN BEFORE WE ESTABLISH CAMP IN OUR RIGHTFUL TRIBAL AREAS.

Depiction of the Bad Axe battle scene

BLACK HAWK

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT WE CANNOT LOSE MORE TRIBAL PEOPLE. WE CANNOT GIVE OPTIONS FOR WHITE MEN. THEY MUST IMMEDIATELY LEAVE OR THEIR SCALPS WILL GO.

WHIRLING THUNDER

UNDERSTOOD. WE HAVE BEEN IN BATTLES BEFORE WHEN I WAS SMALL. WE ONLY BATTLE WHEN WE ARE AGAINST OUR BACKS. WE WILL RIGHTFULLY RECLAIM THE GREAT CREATOR’S LAND FOR OUR LAWFUL USE. THE WHITE SQUATTERS WILL HAVE TO DEPART - HOPEFULLY PEACEFULLY.

Gen Henry Atkinson

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BLACK HAWK

THEN LET US MOVE ON. I WILL CHECK WITH YOU LATER TONIGHT. WE HAVE JUST ENOUGH FOOD TO EAT BEFORE WE DEPART. THE CANOEING IN THE SPRING WILL BE DIFFICULT. AND IF PROGRESS IS TOO DIFFICULT, WE WILL CARRY OUR CANOES PART OF THE WAY TO THE NARROWED MISSISSIPPI RIVER AREA FOR CROSSING. WE WILL REMAIN ON THE NON CURRENT PORTION OF THE RIVER SO WE DON’T LOSE TRIBAL MEMBERS TO CURRENT.

WHIRLING THUNDER

THE CANOES ARE VERY LIGHT. I DON’T SEE THAT AS A PROBLEM. OUR TRIBE WILL DO ANYTHING TO GET BACK ONTO OUR LAND. Bad Axe River as it appears today.

BLACK HAWK

SO WE WILL MEET AT MIDNIGHT OR THEREABOUTS. AND WAIT UNTIL THE MOON IS LOW.

WHIRLING THUNDER

FATHER JUST ONE LITTLE THING. IN THOSE NEGOTIATIONS YOU ENCOUNTERED LAST YEAR, WHAT BECAME OF THE PEACE?

BLACK HAWK

IT IS A LONG STORY BUT SINCE WE HAVE SOME TIME BEFORE WE DEPART BACK ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI, I CAN RELATE SOME FACTS YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW AFTER I’M GONE AND YOU ARE THE TRUE LEADER OF THE KICKAPOO, FOX, AND SAUK TRIBES - WHO ARE ALL UNITED IN THEIR EFFORTS TO RECLAIM THEIR LAND IN BOTH ILLINOIS AND WISCONSIN. Black Hawk

WHIRLING THUNDER

OF COURSE I’VE HEARD OF THE INDIAN REMOVAL ACT OF PRESIDENT JACKSON A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.

BLACK HAWK

THIS WAS THE MOST DESPICABLE ACT BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. INDIANS OF ALL NATIONS WITHOUT REPRESENTATION FROM ALL OUR NATIONS CEDED ALL LAND EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI FOR 2 MILLION DOLLARS AND ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS PER MOON.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO HOW WOULD WE BE ABLE TO TRAP AND HUNT WITHOUT OUR LAND? Lithograph from the middle 1800’s.

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BLACK HAWK

THE AREA IN THE SO CALLED IOWA TERRITORY FOR US IS MUCH LESS FERTILE THAN THE ROCK RIVER BASIN OR THE MICHIGAN TERRITORY NORTH OF THIS BASIN.


WHIRLING THUNDER

OUR DESCENDANTS HAVE HELD THIS LAND FOR MANY YEARS - MIGRATING FROM CANADA AND THE NORTHERN GREAT LAKES AREA, AND NOW WE ARE BEING FORCED OUT BY EUROPEAN WHITE MEN WHO WANT US TO BECOME CHRISTIANS OR WHAT THEY CALL CIVILIZED. THEY CONSIDER US SAVAGES.

BLACK HAWK

I’VE DISPUTED THIS SINCE I’VE HEARD THIS AS A CHILD GROWING UP IN SAUKENUK.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHERE IS SAUKENUK?

BLACK HAWK

Historical Marker of the Battle

IT IS ACROSS THE RIVER A BIT FURTHER SOUTH NEAR ROCK ISLAND. EXTREMELY FERTILE AREA FOR CORN, PUMPKINS AND BEANS. ENOUGH OF A SUMMER HARVEST TO FEED A TRIBE FOR THE ENTIRE WINTER. WE CANNOT LET THIS JUST GO TO THE WHITE MAN WITHOUT A FIGHT. OUR TRIBE WILL NOT SURVIVE IN LESS FERTILE AREAS IN IOWA.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHAT EFFECT DOES THAT TREATY IN 1804 SIGNED BY THE INDIANA GOVERNOR, HENRY HARRISON, HAVE ON THE PRESENT DAY PEACE?

BLACK HAWK

THERE HAVE BEEN MANY TREATIES. MOST ARE NOT FOLLOWED BY EITHER SIDE. THE TREATY IS A ONE SIDED DEAL FOR THE WHITE MAN. IT ALLOWS HIM TO CAPTURE OUR LAND, AND PERMANENTLY ENFORCE HIS LAWS WHILE DISALLOWING OUR TRIBE TO HUNT, FISH, FARM, OR TRAP.

Depiction of the Bad Axe battle scene

WHIRLING THUNDER

DO YOU FEEL WE CAN DEFEAT THE ILLINOIS MILITIA WHO GOVERNOR REYNOLDS OF ILLINOIS HAS CALLED UP TO FIGHT US?

BLACK HAWK

WE WILL WEAR THEM DOWN. UTILIZE SCARE TACTICS ON THE WHITE SQUATTERS. THIS MAY ULTIMATELY CAUSE THE WHITE MAN TO FALL BACK.

WHIRLING THUNDER

DON’T YOU FEEL IT IS JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE WHITE MAN WILL PUSH HIS WAYS AND FORCE US TO BECOME ONE LIKE HIM OR ELSE DIE?

Captain Henry Gratiot

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BLACK HAWK

THAT IS THEIR GOAL. HOWEVER I FEEL THAT WE CAN SCARE AND BEAT THEM INTO SUBMISSION. WE HAVE GUNS FROM THE BRITISH THAT THEY HAVE PROVIDED SINCE THE WAR OF 1812 - WHEN WE SUPPORTED THE BRITISH IN THE GREAT LAKES AREA.

WHIRLING THUNDER

YES I SEE THIS AS A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR THE WINNEBAGO, SAUK, AND FOX TRIBES.

BLACK HAWK

AND I’M GETTING WORD THAT THE BRITISH THEMSELVES, POTAWATOMI, HO CHUNK, AND OTHERS MAY JOIN US IN THE FIGHT.

White Cloud

WHIRLING THUNDER

I DON’T SEE US HAVING ANY OPTIONS. TO BE SURE THE WHITE MAN WILL SUFFER SCALPS AND LOSS OF HIS CLAIMED LAND.

BLACK HAWK

WE WILL NO LONGER ADHERE TO ONE SIDED TREATIES OF WHICH WE WERE NOT PROPERLY REPRESENTED. I WILL FIGHT UNTIL MY DEATH FOR OUR TRIBE AND OUR LANDS. WHITE CLOUD AND HIS WINNEBAGO TRIBE WILL SUPPORT OUR SAUK CAUSE.

WHIRLING THUNDER

AND I WILL FIGHT RIGHT NEXT TO YOU. WE WILL CARRY THE SAUK NAME PROUDLY. Black Hawk

BLACK HAWK

WE WILL RECLAIM THE ROCK RIVER BASIN, ESTABLISH A VIBRANT INDIAN NATION, AND LIVE THE REST OF OUR LIVES IN PEACE ONCE WE HAVE EVACUATED ALL WHITE MEN FROM THESE SMALL SETTLEMENTS.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHAT IF WE ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL IN RECLAIMING OUR LOST LANDS?

BLACK HAWK

Shaman

AGAIN WE HAVE NO CHOICE AS THE WHITE MAN WILL PUSH US INTO THE OCEAN BEYOND. IT IS INEVITABLE. I’VE TALKED TO OTHER TRIBAL LEADERS AND THEY ARE FEARFUL OF THE SAME THINGS. WE WILL PUT UP A FIGHT WITH THEM.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHAT ABOUT KEOKUK?

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BLACK HAWK

HE HAS BETRAYED US TIME AND TIME AGAIN. BY CAPITULATING TO THE WHITE MEN, HE HAS LOST ALL HIS TRIBAL LANDS FOR MONEY, WHISKEY, AND SOME FOOD. HE HAS MADE A GRAVE MISTAKE AND HIS TRIBE WILL DIE. HE IS NOT OUR FRIEND.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO WHAT IF WE SEE KEOKUK?

BLACK HAWK

WE WILL TAKE HIS SCALP. THAT IS WHY I BELIEVE YOU WILL NOT SEE KEOKUK. HE IS FRIENDS WITH THE ILLINOIS MILITIA AND UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. KEOKUK NEGOTIATED THE TREATY OF 1816 WITH WILLIAM HENRY HARRSION, THE GOVERNOR OF INDIANA, THAT CEDED MUCH OF OUR LAND.

WHIRLING THUNDER

Historical Marker, “Red Bird’s Village”

SO KEOKUK IS AN UNFRIENDLY SAUK?

BLACK HAWK

YES. HE GAVE UP AND CONVINCED MUCH OF HIS TRIBE TO LEAVE. THIS GOES ALONG WITH THE SOUTHERN INDIANS OF THE UNITED STATES WHO WERE LEFT WITH A TRAIL OF TEARS FOLLOWING THE CHOCTAW INDIAN TREATY WITH THE UNITED STATES.

WHIRLING THUNDER

THOUSANDS DIED FOLLOWING THE REMOVAL OF THE TRIBE FROM THEIR HOMELAND. IT IS SAD, BUT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WILL NOT STOP SHORT OF CHASING US FROM THE LANDS WE HOLD DEAR FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS OF OUR CHILDREN.

Depiction of the Bad Axe battle scene

BLACK HAWK

IT IS UNBELIEVABLE THAT THE AMERICANS BOUGHT THE LAND FROM THE FRENCH IN 1803 UNDER AN AGREEMENT CALLED THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE. THEY BOUGHT LAND THAT WAS RIGHTFULLY OURS. THE FRENCH HAD APPARENTLY LAID CLAIM TO THIS LAND WHICH WAS NEVER THEIRS. AGAIN THIS WAS A FLAWED AGREEMENT. NO ONE TALKED TO OUR TRIBE.

WHIRLING THUNDER

DO YOU FEEL THE FRENCH KNEW WE WOULD FIGHT TO THE FINISH, SO THEY SOLD THE LAND?

Pecatonic Battle Site

BLACK HAWK

OF COURSE. THE FUR TRADERS WHO WANTED TO ESTABLISH SETTLEMENTS HERE KNEW IT WOULD NEVER 11


BE COMPLETELY SAFE FOR THEM. THEY WANTED TO BE SQUATTERS LIKE AMERICANS. BUT THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL NOW GONE, AND NOW WE ARE DEALING WITH TRUE AMERICANS - WHO FEEL THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO THIS LAND.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO WHERE DO YOU FEEL THE SAFEST PLACE IS TO REENTER ILLINOIS?

BLACK HAWK

Keokuk

AFTER REVIEWING THE MOON PHASES, THE WIND, SOIL, AND RAIN PATTERNS, WE WILL CROSS INTO GALENA IN EARLY APRIL. THE ROCK RIVER IS TOO FORTIFIED NEAR ROCK ISLAND NOW. AND OUR HOMELAND SAUKENUK WILL LEAD US TO TAKE FORT ARMSTRONG EVENTUALLY BY SURPRISE FORCING THE WHITE MAN INTO THE DROWNING MISSISSIPPI CURRENTS.

WHIRLING THUNDER

ONE OF THE TRIBESMEN SAID WE ARE THE BRITISH BAND.

BLACK HAWK

THEY CAN CALL US WHATEVER THEY WANT. I FEEL BRITAIN WILL BE OF LITTLE HELP TO US IN OUR FIGHT FOR FREEDOM AND RECLAIMING OUR LANDS. WE WILL SEE. MANY TRIBES INCLUDING SOME HO CHUNK MAY FIGHT WITH THE AMERICANS, BUT WE WILL SEE WHEN THE FIGHTING ACTUALLY BEGINS.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL SO AS TO NOT GET SABOTAGED? Black Hawk

BLACK HAWK

SO FAR THE KICKAPOO, SAUK OTHER THAN KEOKUK’S FOLLOWERS, FOX, AND POTAWATOMI ARE WITH US. THEY WILL NOT LET US DOWN. WE HAVE NEARLY 500 WARRIORS AND 1500 TOTAL IN OUR BAND READY TO CROSS THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER IN EARLY APRIL. IT WILL BE A GREAT CROSSING.

WHIRLING THUNDER

Fort Armstrong

THANK YOU FOR SPENDING THE TIME TRYING TO MAKE CERTAIN I UNDERSTAND OUR TRIBE’S PLIGHT. IT WILL NOT BE EASY. BUT I GUARANTEE OUR CANOES WILL BE THE FASTEST WE CAN HAVE FOR OUR TRIP.

BLACK HAWK

WE WILL NEED THE CANOES NOT ONLY FOR THE GALENA RIVER, BUT THE FERTILE ROCK RIVER BASIN IS WHERE WE WILL AGAIN ESTABLISH OUR TRIBAL SETTLEMENT. THE 12


CURRENT IS STRONG GOING UPSTREAM, SO THE CANOES MUST BE VERY SMOOTH.

WHIRLING THUNDER

BUT FATHER, SOME OTHER TRIBESMEN SAY YOU HAVE SIGNED TREATIES YOURSELF WITH THE WHITE MAN.

BLACK HAWK

YES I HAVE. I SIGNED A TREATY IN 1816 - REAFFIRMING THE 1804 TREATY WITH GOVERNOR HARRISON OF INDIANA. I AGAIN SIGNED A TREATY JUNE 30, 1831 TO STAY WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO IT IS FACTUALLY TRUE THAT WE ARE NOT HOLDING UP OUR END OF THE AGREEMENT?

BLACK HAWK

Henry Dodge

NO, THAT IS INCORRECT. THE WHITE MAN PROMISED OUR TRIBES THAT THEY WOULD PAY MONEY, SUPPLY FOOD, AND MEDICINE. NONE OF THAT HAS BEEN PROVIDED. IT WAS A FALSE PROMISE BY THE WHITE MAN TO ALLOW HIM TO MIGRATE AND CAPTURE AND SETTLE OUR HOMELANDS.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHY DO WE NOT TALK TO THE WHITE MAN?

BLACK HAWK

SON, IT IS JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE OUR TRIBE OF SAUK IS EXTINCT. THE FOX AND KICKAPOO WILL ALSO BE EXTINCT IF WE ALLOW THE WHITE MAN TO CONTINUE TO PUSH OUR TRIBES WEST.

Depiction of the Bad Axe battle scene

WHIRLING THUNDER

SO WE WILL DEFINITELY RESETTLE OUR LANDS IN ILLINOIS.

BLACK HAWK

ABSOLUTELY. IT IS THE ONLY WAY. WE WERE NOT REQUIRED TO LEAVE BY ANY OF THESE TREATIES UNTIL THE WHITE MAN WAS ESTABLISHED ON THESE LANDS. MOST OF OUR LAND IS UNOCCUPIED YET THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT STILL WANTS US OUT OF ILLINOIS.

WHIRLING THUNDER

SOME OF THE TRIBE WAS WONDERING IF WHISKEY WAS PART OF THE DEAL WE SIGNED?

Modern Historical Marker

BLACK HAWK

I DON’T ALLOW WHISKEY IN THE SAUK TRIBE, AS IT CORRUPTS THE SOUL. THE GREAT SPIRIT DID NOT ALLOW 13


IT, NOR SHOULD OUR SAUK TRIBE. IT DIDN’T EXIST UNTIL THE WHITE MAN BROUGHT IT HERE.

WHIRLING THUNDER

OF COURSE. I’VE NEVER HAD ANY. THEY SAY IT MAKES YOU GIGGLE AND LAUGH.

BLACK HAWK

IT DOES MORE THAN THAT. IT MAKES YOU ILL FOR DAYS, VOMIT, AND NOT THINK WITH A CLEAR MIND. YOU CANNOT HUNT WHILE TAKING WHISKEY.

WHIRLING THUNDER

WELL THAT MONEY THE WHITE MAN WAS SUPPOSED TO PROVIDE OUR TRIBE? Capt Alan Snyder

BLACK HAWK

YOU MEAN THE $1000 PER MONTH THAT NEVER CAME?

WHIRLING THUNDER

WHY DON’T WE NEGOTIATE FOR THE MONEY?

BLACK HAWK

I’VE TALKED TO THE GREAT SPIRIT. HE SAYS THE WHITE MAN IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED. HE HAS TRESPASSED UPON OUR LANDS. HE MUST EITHER LEAVE OR BE KILLED. YES, HIS WOMEN AND CHILDREN MAY SUFFER. I DIDN’T BRING THIS WAR. I JUST WANT OUR TRIBE TO SURVIVE. THE 1804, 1816, AND 1830 TREATIES ARE WORTHLESS.

WHIRLING THUNDER

Black Hawk

BUT FATHER, KEOKUK IS HELD TO BE IN HIGH REGARD BY MANY, AND SPEAKS FOR THE INDIANS.

BLACK HAWK

KEOKUK HAS BETRAYED ALL INDIANS - ESPECIALLY THE SAUK. BY FORFEITING THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF LAND TO THE WHITE MAN, KEOKUK HAS MISREPRESENTED MOST INDIANS. HIS ACTIONS ALLOWED ANDREW JACKSON TO SIGN THE INDIAN REMOVAL ACT OF 1830 - WHICH FORBIDS TRIBES EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE WE ARE HEADED WEST OF THE GREAT MOUNTAINS BY KEOKUK’S THINKING. WE WILL TAKE A STAND HERE AND NOW. WE WON’T SURRENDER.

WHIRLING THUNDER

Chief Keokuk in photo

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WELL AS A CALCULATED DARK MOON, IT WILL BE APRIL 5TH, 1832 WHEN WE CAN CROSS THE MISSISSIPPI MOST QUIETLY AND NOT BE SEEN ABOVE THE ROCK RIVER.


BLACK HAWK

I WILL MEET YOU WITH THE CANOES ON THIS DATE SHORTLY DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM THE NARROWING OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER - NORTH OF THE ROCK RIVER’S MOUTH. WE WILL HEAD UPSTREAM AND INTO THE ROCK RIVER BASIN THE VERY FIRST DAY. EXPECT SKIRMISHES. WASHTE! WASHTE!

WHIRLING THUNDER BLACK HAWK

Stillman’s Run

Depiction of the Bad Axe battle scene

Marker near Desoto, WI

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Trepass - Chapter I