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Black Hawk, whose Sauk name
(Black Sparrow Hawk) was a war-
rior and protector of his people,
the Sauk (Asakiwaki). The Sac
(also spelled Sauk) and the Fox
(Mesquaki) are closely related, to
the point that today they are of-
ten considered to be one tribe.
The historical record left behind
includes a moving autobiography,
dictated by Black Hawk to his in-
terpreter, Antoine LeClaire, who
who spoke both Sauk and English.
Black Hawk, a traditionalist
and outspoken critic of American
relocation policies, led a resistant
band of the Sauk against land-
hungry settlers and a jittery, ag-
gressive militia enforcing illegal
treaties, essentially land swindles.
After many fierce skirmishes,
Black Hawk’s band was slaughtered as they attempted to surrender to militia on
the Eastern banks of the Mississippi River. According to Black Hawk’s written
account, those members of his band who were able to forge the river - many of
whom were women who swam with children on their backs - were pursued and
killed on the opposite shore by a band of Sioux, traditional enemies of the Sauk.
The Bad Ax Massacre took place on August 1, 1832. The site of this infamous
episode in United States history is near present-day Victory, Wisconsin.
The Black Hawk War is terrible history to read. Black Hawk survived the
massacre to surrender at Fort Crawford, his intial band of 1,200 reduced to 150
survivors. Black Hawk led out his life with a heavy heart as he witnessed the
dispossession and distress of his People, and the irrevocable end of a way of life.
Yet despite the pathos and sorrow of his last years,
Black Hawk remains a constant spirit, close and respon-
sive to those who call upon him, faithful, just, active, and
fiercely protective. One feels his power and willingness
still. He is called upon by many in need of justice and
protection. Black Hawk is particularly invoked during
services of the Spiritual Churches of New Orleans, and
by many others. His fame continues to grow. His is a
Warrior Spirit of Justice and and Protection! He is the
Watchman on the Wall. Bring your troubles to Black Hawk!
He will fight your battles! (Con’t. on Page 2)