Black Hawk Speaks to His Followers

In 1832 Black Hawk asked his people to return to the land they had given up in an earlier treaty.


Leaders, braves and warriors of the Sauk, for more than 100 winters our people were powerful, happy and the untied people…

Black Hawk was particularly upset when he was ordered by the government not to return to his ancestral village at Saukenuk. Despite these orders, he and his followers return to plant and harvest crops as they had done in the past.

... But and evil day befell us, when we became a divided nation, and all our troubles began with the long knives amongst us. Who even now, claimed our territory east of the Mississippi, including Saukenuk, our ancient village. Saukenuk, where all of us were born, lived and were raised. Saukenuk, where our corn fields grew. Saukenuk, where sleep the bones of our sacred dead. Will the descendents of our illustrious dead stand ideally by and suffer this sacrilege to continue? Great Mystery whispers in my ear No, NO, No.

In 1832 Black Hawk decided to go back to Saukenuk to live on his homelands. Believing the Winnebago Indians and the British would come to his aid in an event of a war with the Americans Black Hawk prepared to cross the river into Illinois.

…Let the deadly arrow and the fatal tomahawk fling through the air, to the heads and the hearts of these pail face invaders. Then we shall send their spirits to this white place of endless punishment. (yelling)

“First People of the Prairies,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 1, Iowa PBS, 1979.