Keokuk, a chief of the combined Sac and Fox tribes, failed to support
Black Hawk in his bold return to his people's former range in northern
Illinois. Black Hawk's 1832 march, which violated an 1804 treaty that
most Indians considered invalid, aroused the ire of Illinois and federal
officials. Fearing that Black Hawk's small band would attack white settlements,
or at least provoke panic on the northern Illinois frontier, they called
up state militia units and brought US Army units to northern Illinois.
Realizing the gravity of his actions, Black Hawk sought to return to his
people's assigned lands in Iowa. But the American forces began a pursuit
of his band that resulted in the Indians' rout at the Battle of Bad Axe
in western Wisconsin. Through the struggle Chief Keokuk maintained his
loyalty to the Americans who had made him their principal contact among
the Sac and Fox people and rewarded him with gifts.