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Chief Keokuk (with his son)
Chief Keokuk (with his son)

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.

Image source: Northern Illinois University
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project