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Re-Collecting Black Hawk

Re-Collecting Black Hawk: Landscape, Memory, and Power in the American Midwest

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Re-Collecting Black Hawk
    Book Description:

    The name Black Hawk permeates the built environment in the upper midwestern United States. It has been appropriated for everything from fitness clubs to used car dealerships. Makataimeshekiakiak, the Sauk Indian war leader whose name loosely translates to "Black Hawk," surrendered in 1832 after hundreds of his fellow tribal members were slaughtered at the Bad Axe Massacre.Re-Collecting Black Hawkexamines the phenomena of this appropriation in the physical landscape, and the deeply rooted sentiments it evokes among Native Americans and descendants of European settlers. Nearly 170 original photographs are presented and juxtaposed with texts that reveal and complicate the significance of the imagery. Contributors include tribal officials, scholars, activists, and others including George Thurman, the principal chief of the Sac and Fox Nation and a direct descendant of Black Hawk. These image-text encounters offer visions of both the past and present and the shaping of memory through landscapes that reach beyond their material presence into spaces of cultural and political power. As we witness, the evocation of Black Hawk serves as a painful reminder, a forced deference, and a veiled attempt to wipe away the guilt of past atrocities.Re-Collecting Black Hawkalso points toward the future. By simultaneously unsettling and reconstructing the midwestern landscape, it envisions new modes of peaceful and just coexistence and suggests alternative ways of inhabiting the landscape.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-8039-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Art & Art History, Population Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-17)

    Across two pages of a book, a pair of black-and-white photographs meet at the binding and fill nearly half the spread. They are wider than they are tall, “landscape orientation,” as word-processing software calls it. The image on the left is taken from the middle distance, the frame nearly bisected. On one side is a van, headlights toward the photographer; on the other, a canoe, sawn in half and crookedly propped against a tree. The half-canoe is a sign, the bottom of the boat covered with painted lettering advertising the services of a business in Sauk City. “Paddle the Wisconsin...

  2. 1. We Are Still Here to Tell Their Stories and to Add Our Own
    (pp. 19-21)

    Black Hawk is the name of a man whose life has achieved legendary, almost mythical, proportions in the 177 years since he last walked this earth. His name has come to stand for more than one person’s identification—the mention of his name even now evokes a profusion of impression and emotion. Black Hawk was a fierce warrior who fought the American government and whose name has been given to the conflict described as a war in American history. Black Hawk was a leader who led women, children, and old people back to their cornfields at Saukenuk because they were...

  3. 2. Iowa
    (pp. 22-63)

    In 1767, a great Sauk leader was born. His name meant “the black sparrow hawk.” He came to be known as Black Hawk.

    Strong beliefs, independent thinking and an unwavering commitment to his family and his people earned him a reputation as a man of integrity and courage. In 1832, along with 1,200 of his people, Black Hawk was driven from his ancestral home during a war that bears his name. We celebrate this Sauk leader and his courage with our Chief BlackHawk Porter, the kind of beer that makes you say Ma-ka-tai-she-kia-kiak [sic]!

    Today I awoke to find that...

  4. 3. They Don’t Even Want Our Bones: An Interview with Johnathan Buffalo Historic Preservation Officer Meskwaki Nation
    (pp. 65-71)
    NICHOLAS A. BROWN and Johnathan Buffalo

    Nicholas A. Brown (NB): Could you situate the Black Hawk War, which is often described as the last Indian War east of the Mississippi River, in the larger context of the conquest of the United States?

    Johnathan Buffalo (JB): Well, you have to remember: Europeans invaded. It was not a discovery. It was an invasion. And the problem was, there were already people here. Every time you invade a new land, you have to get rid of the Indigenous people—either push them out or kill them. And that starts war.

    The first recognized Indian War in American history is...

  5. 4. Wisconsin
    (pp. 73-141)

    The Indian in Wisconsin is not easy to understand. The popular image, formed by history and generalization, lingers on as a stereotype without basis in reality. Casual observation of the Indian and his community provides half truths which are more misleading than enlightening. The Indian does not explain himself readily, and when he does, the non-Indian has difficulty in understanding his values and in ascribing worth to his ways. This is an especially tangled problem, for on the surface the Indians are a part of our culture; they watch our television, they drive our cars, they work in our jobs....

  6. CHAPTER 5 Even Though He Had a Native Person Standing in Front of Him, He Just Did Not See Me: An Interview with Sandra Massey Historic Preservation Officer Sac and Fox Nation
    (pp. 143-149)
    SARAH E. KANOUSE and Sandra Massey

    Sarah E. Kanouse (sk): The story that typically gets told of the Black Hawk War is the mainstream, white American point of view. What would the Sac and Fox Nation history be?

    Sandra Massey (SM): First of all, I always tell people that there was no war. Black Hawk never intended war when he went back to Illinois. We know this because women, children, and old people were with him. It wasn’t a military offensive. They were just going back to their homelands where their crops were because they were starving. When the soldiers were firing on us at Bad...

  7. 6. Illinois
    (pp. 151-207)

    Their name, even, now must be blotted out from among the names of the aboriginal tribes. Henceforth they must cease to be of the present, and could only be remembered as a part of the past. This is the last we know of the last of the Illinois. They were once a great and a prosperous people, as advanced and as humane as any of the aborigines around them; we do not know that a drop of their blood now animates a human being, but their name is perpetuated in this great State, of whose record of the past all...

  8. 7. We Have More Important Work to Do within Ourselves First: An Interview with Yolanda Pushetonequa Former Language Preservation Officer Meskwaki Nation
    (pp. 209-217)
    SARAH E. KANOUSE and Yolanda Pushetonequa

    Sarah E. Kanouse (sk): Why is language preservation important to the Meskwaki Nation?

    Yolanda Pushetonequa (YP): Language is what carries the culture of any people, any group. Language is really central to culture. It’s more than a method of transferring knowledge and information. For Native people, or Aboriginal or Indigenous people, the spiritual self is of utmost importance. It’s really your first identity. For example, you’re a man or woman. You’re a student or a professional, a son or a daughter. But before you’re anything else, you’re a Meskwaki person. That always comes first. And the language was one of...

  9. 8. Makataimeshekiakiak, Settler Colonialism, and the Specter of Indigenous Liberation
    (pp. 219-235)

    See, we only became Indians once the armed struggle was over in 1890. Before then we were Shoshone or Mohawk or Crow. For centuries North America was a complicated, dangerous place full of shifting alliances between the United States and Indian nations, among the Indian nations themselves, and between the Indians and Canada, Mexico, and half of Europe.

    For the Comanche curator and historian Paul Chaat Smith, to be Indian is to allow oneself to be defined by Eurocentric and colonial nomenclature. Prior to colonization, there were no Indians. Instead, the continent was home to dozens of autonomous Indigenous nations...

  10. CODA Minnesota’s Sesquicentennials and Dakota People: Remembering Oppression and Invoking Resistance
    (pp. 237-248)

    By noon on May 10, families in wagons and on horseback arrived at Fort Snelling after a long journey from Cannon Falls. They were giddy with excitement about the formation of the State of Minnesota and were eager to make it to the fort where they planned to camp for the night. Their procession was interrupted by throngs of Sioux Indians, beating their drums and yelling to beat the band. Despite this unexpected powwow, the angry Indians could not dampen the enthusiasm of Minnesota’s patriots as they celebrated the birth of their beloved state. Law enforcement quelled this small uprising...