Saturday, June 14, 2014

1.14 Reach - Black Hawk

Bestest Friend and I are embarking on a new blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the fourteenth day of each month is "Reach."

In 1832, during the brief conflict known as the Black Hawk War, a united band of Sauk, Meskwaki , and Kickapoo Native Americans, led by the Sauk leader Black Hawk, was defeated by US soldiers under the command of General Henry Atkinson. The Black Hawk War seems to have been a result of a (historically unsurprising) misunderstanding about whether or not some land, particularly the land around the Bark and Rock Rivers in what is now southeastern Wisconsin, belonged to Natives or European settlers.  

The town where much of the Black Hawk War was fought is named after the conquering General and is now known as Fort Atkinson.  But all over this town you’ll find references to Black Hawk, as well. There’s the Blackhawk Tavern, Black Hawk Senior Residence Center, the Blackhawk Little League team, and a host of street names named for the Sauk leader. 

You’ll also find a pair of statues on the Rock River, commemorating Black Hawk and his impossibly optimistic goal that the land dispute could be solved bloodlessly.  Every time I drive by these statues, I am gripped with a sense of melancholy over the wasted lives and historical aberrations that led to Black Hawk being known as little more than a footnote in the history of the town, while everyone says Atkinson’s name regularly.

To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit To Quit.    

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