Friday, October 17, 2014

A Fissure In The Sauk Nation

Chief Keokuk

The Sauks and the Black Hawk War...:

...when an Indian Nation contains more than about 2,000 people its increase of population decreases its cohesive power.  But in the division of the Sauks, which occurred with the late war between Great Britain and the United States, this custom or weakness was not a factor. That division grew out and was a part of the war of 1812- 14.

 For more than forty years Mucketee-Meshe-Kiah-Kiah, (literally meaning in our language Black Sparrow Hawk but always called Black Hawk), prior to that war had been the universally acknowledged first or head War Chief of the Sauk Nation.

Living at Saukenuk, near Rock Island, and "out of a job," as he [Black Hawk] had no immediate fight on his hands, but eager to have, on learning that war had been declared, hastened to offer his services with two hundred picked braves, to our Government to fight against the British.   On being refused, he at once tendered his services to the British, and was accepted, and went to Green Bay, where he was assigned to duty with the rank of Colonel.

During his [Black Hawk's] absence a rumor reached Saukenuk that a large force of United States troops had left Peoria, Illinois, for an attack upon Saukenuk, which created great alarm among the Sauks, who, as a mass, sympathized with the people of the United States in this war.  [Keokuk]...organized a small army sent out spies and went in person at the head of a little band of trailers towards Peoria and satisfied himself that the whole story was a canard.

When Black Hawk and his 200 braves returned from the war, he found Keokuk fully installed in his place as the War Chief of the Nation, and a division of the tribe ensued.  ...[one group was] known as the British or Black Hawk's band; the latter as the Peace or Keokuk's band.

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