In 1804 U.S. government officials and Indians negotiated.


Gentleman, for too many years your people had committed crimes against the white men…

In 1804 Government officials and some member of the Sauk and Mesquakie tribes met in St. Louis to negotiate the release of an Indian who was accused of murdering a white man. The Indians apparently became intoxicated during that meeting and lead by Quashquamie, the group signed a treaty, which ceded 15 million acres of Indian land on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River to the United States Government. As a result, the Sauk tribe lost their main village, Saukenuk, near present day Rock Island. In reality Quashquamie and his party had no right to cede any lands since the tribal council had given them authority only to negotiate for the release of the prisoner. Nevertheless in the eyes of the United States Government the treaty was binding. And over the next 20 years settlers were allowed to move into the area. These events angered members of the Sauk tribe—including a leading warrior named Black Hawk.

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