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Historic Diaries: Black Hawk War

After the War

Editor's Note:

The war proved to other Indian leaders in the region that Keokuk was right and Black Hawk was wrong -- resistance to white military force was futile. Over the next two decades, nearly all Native American homelands in Wisconsin would be ceded to the U.S. government under new treaties. Most would be quickly surveyed, sold, and occupied by settlers. Within a single generation, more than a million immigrants from eastern and southern states, as well as from nearly every European nation, would be living on what had recently been Indian lands.

1832, Sept. 19: A peace treaty was signed, requiring the Sauk and Fox to stay west of the Mississippi and cede a 50-mile-wide strip of the Iowa shore.

1832, Aug. to. April 1833: Black Hawk and The Winnebago Prophet were imprisoned at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis.

1833, April: Black Hawk and The Winnebago Prophet were moved to a prison at Norfolk, Va.

1833, June-Aug.: Black Hawk and The Winnebago Prophet were sent on a tour of eastern cities, where enormous crowds turned out to see them. On their return, Black Hawk said, "Brothers, we have seen how great a people the whites are. They are very rich and very strong -- it is folly for us to fight them."

1833-1836: the Sauk and Fox lived on the Iowa River, where Keokuk was their principal chief and where Black Hawk died in 1838. Between 1836 and 1846 they were forced further west in Iowa, and their population fell from 6,000 to 2,477.

1846: the remaining Sauk and Fox were pushed to the headwaters of the Osage River in Kansas.

[Source: Wyman, Mark. The Wisconsin Frontier (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998). Hagan, William T. The Sauk and Fox Indians (Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1958).]

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