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An Indian leader’s struggle against the tide of westward pioneer expansionBlack Hawk was a leader and warrior of the Sauk Indian tribe born in the Illinois Territory in 1767. He was not an hereditary chief but became leader of a ‘band’ and war chief, principally because he had demonstrated his prowess in action. Black Hawk fought for the British against United States forces during the War of 1812 in an attempt to keep American settlers away from Sauk territory. By the 1830s Black Hawk was leader of the so called ‘British Band’ of Sauk and Fox Indians with whom he became famous for his resistance against settlers in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory during the ‘Black Hawk War’ of 1832. On the close of this war he was captured by American forces and transported to the eastern states. Before his eventual release Black Hawk dictated his autobiography, included in the Leonaur edition, which notably was the first work of its kind to be published in the United States. Also included here, from the perspective of the Americans, is a history of the Black Hawk War by Frank Everett Stevens. The conflict was typical of those between native Americans and settlers, since the perennial issue was always about the occupancy of land. In this instance the Indians were pre-emptively attacked by militia who were convinced that the ‘British Band’ had hostile intent. The Indians responded decisively—and initially successfully—in pitched battle, but after an intensified campaign was waged against ...
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