Thursday, August 24, 2006

In search of Black Hawk

Saw an interesting article in the Tribune titled In Search of Black Hawk about a reporter's attempts to follow the life (and trail) of the Sauk warrior Black Hawk, who in 1832 led his people on a quest to regain their lands. This quest became known as the Black Hawk War.
His name, often misspelled as one word, is everywhere throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, especially along the Mississippi River -- on high school football teams and historic markers, on bodies of water and outcroppings of land, on parks, businesses and schools. Even in plural on the NHL team in Chicago.

But Black Hawk, the man, is hard to find.

He was the Sauk warrior who, in 1832, led more than 1,500 followers -- most of them women, children and old people -- into Illinois in search of his tribe's social and cultural heritage. What they found was war, starvation and massacre, and two of every three of them lost their lives.
The article was interesting to me because the Black Hawk War is a feature in my book Prairie Fire. At one point I have Natasha, my heroine, noting that although she knows the name Black Hawk and has seen it everywhere in the Chicago region, she doesn't know what it comes from.

Hopefully, someday, everyone can read Natasha's account of the Black Hawk War.

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