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Life of Black Hawk (Native American) Paperback – August 26, 1994

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Product Details

  • Series: Native American
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (August 26, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486281051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486281056
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,330,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MSMS on August 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an easy to read, valuable piece of near-primary source material - which fills in the gaps that I find in most collections of the last 400 years of American history. Like adding Howard Zinn material to your study of US history, the words of Black Hawk balance the traditional textbook summary of native Indian history and culture.

Black Hawk speaks in a narrative storyline that deserves our attention and understanding. He was without the benefit of support, and thus was unable to confirm the more than substantial memory at his grasp. The editorial notations added within the text that at times confirm or counter Black Hawk's telling, though intended to clarify the historical record, will thus serve to mildly frustrate the reading.

And although this is an "autobiography" of his life, there are significant questions as to the caliber of translation of Black Hawk's words. Just enough so that I imagined him actually telling of his life in his native tongue to one truly fluent in the language and how much richer the story would be.

I found myself marveling most the sections where Black Hawk speaks of the power of nature and it's interwoven influence on the lives of the native tribes, as well as their deep respect and understanding for the impact living things have on one another. By contrasting his culture with the encroaching white settler culture, he is prescient of what is to come. Through the eyes and words of this sincere man, we hear of the habit of deception and the power of greed of a dominating culture which will eventually strip away most all valuable material things from these people, while at the same moment speaking faithlessly of highest ideals and principles.

The book is a top read for anyone curious to hear a more authentic, first-hand narrative of the realities of life in the 1800's for a wise but slowly disappearing culture.
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Format: Paperback
During the War of 1812, Black Hawk (1767-1838), a chief among the Sauk and Fox Indians, fought on the side of the British. In 1823, after signing a treaty with the United States, the Sauk and Fox were compelled to leave their lands in present-day Illinois, and move west of the Mississippi River. In April 1832, after Black Hawk had received what he considered to be too many affronts, he led a large following back to the disputed land, beginning what was later known as the Black Hawk War (April-August 1832). After his surrender, Black Hawk was given a tour of the expanding United States, and he decided that he wished to have recorded his life’s story, so that the people of the United States could understand him and his reasons for going to war. This is the Black Hawk’s life story.

This book was originally published in 1833, and was supposedly dictated by Black Hawk to his translator, Antoine Leclair. There is some speculation as to how much of this work is actually Black Hawk’s own words, and how much is Leclair’s ghost writing. But, I must admit that I did not bother much with this controversy. I found the book to be a fascinating look into Black Hawk’s mind and how he saw the European-American settlement of the United States.

First of all, the hero of this story is no sugar-coated Disney character. His story is filled with battle and plunder and the taking of scalps. A true warrior, steeped in his culture’s ideals, he lived and fought in what he considered an honorable and logical manner, and could not understand the way that the white people lived and fought. This is no politically correct paean to the Native-Americans, but a clear-eyed explanation of who Black Hawk was, and why he did what he did.

So, if you are interested in American history, and want a view of the Indian Wars from the Native-American side, then I highly recommend this book to you.
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By Michael J. Bradham on January 28, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“I explained to them the manner the British and Americans fought. Instead of stealing upon each other, and taking every advantage to kill the enemy and save their own people, as we do, (which, with us, is considered good policy in a war chief,) they marched out, in open daylight, and fight, regardless of the number of warriors they may lose! After the battle is over, they retire to feast, and drink wine, as if nothing had happened; after which, they make a statement in writing, of what they have done – each party claiming the victory! and neither giving an account of half the number that have been killed on their own side. They all fought like braves, but would not do to lead a war party with us. Our maxim is, “to kill the enemy and save our own men.” Those chiefs would do to paddle a canoe, but not to steer it.” (page 20)

Firsthand account from Black Hawk. Originally published in 1834.

Shines a light on many weaknesses of that time that still exist today:
Inability to see how actions affect others.
Projecting problems unto others in an unbalanced way.
Making oneself out to be the victim.
Unworthy entitlement to land ownership.
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Format: Paperback
Black Hawk was a principle warrior within the Sac Nation. After prolonged antagonism with the Americans, he and hundreds of his followers returned to his native Ilinois in the spring of 1832. The peaceful migration devolved into a shooting war that lasted much of the summer. After his surrender, Black Hawk dictated his autobiography so that his side of the story might be known. This book is that story, published circa 1834. It is an amazing story of Sac life and Black Hawk's interactions both before and after the war that bears his name. A second heavily-edited edition was published fifty years later-- however most scholars agree that the 1834 version, found in this book, is a truer representation of Black Hawk's story. Many, but not all, of the incidents he cited do check out with the historical record. This particular book is a "must have" for the enthusiast interested in Illinois history and/or American Indian history.
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