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Indian Creek Massacre

Historical Site Categories: Black Hawk and Native American History

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What's The Story

From the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 to 1832, the tribes had been forced westward as American settlement expanded. Between 1800 and 1809, most of Illinois had been ceded, often under duress, through treaties between the United States and the Illinois, Kickapoo, Meskwaki, Piankashaw, Potawatomi, and Sauk tribes. Tribal resistance to American settlement was growing and encouraged by the British, who promised to restore tribal lands if they won the War of 1812.

America’s War of 1812 victory increased the expansion of settlement. By 1832, many tribes had already moved west of the Mississippi to land that was largely unfamiliar to them. When Black Hawk returned to Saukenuk he was accompanied by children, women, and older people, an unlikely combination for an army. The skirmish with the Illinois militia and pursuit by federal troops prompted an aggressive response.

Shabbona (Ottawa) was a leader of a Potawatomi band. He encouraged Black Hawk not to resist American settlement. When Shabbona realized he could not restrain some of the Potawatomi, he alerted settlers of impending danger.

To learn more:

Trask, Kerry A. 2006. Black Hawk: The Battle for the Heart of America. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

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