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By James Lewis, Ph.D.

Native Americans had crossed and recrossed the Mississippi and entered and exited Illinois countless times before April 5, 1832. But, when Black Hawk and his band of Sauks and Foxes did so on that day, it sparked a war that involved the Illinois militia and the U.S. Army. Why?

To answer that question, we need to place this single event in context. We need to think about the Sauks and Foxes.

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