Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: We Were Becoming Like Them … All Talkers and No Workers

 

For my first QotD, I’m going to post a long one. This is Sauk warrior Black Hawk’s surrender speech, given in 1832 after the last of his warriors were defeated at the Bad Axe River in what is now Wisconsin. This defeat marked the end of the Black Hawk War that had been fought across the Illinois territory, and largely ended effective armed Indian resistance in the Great Lakes. He is memorialized in numerous ways in Illinois and Wisconsin, in brands, plaques, statues and place names, even lending his name and likeness to a somewhat famous Chicago hockey team.

I haven’t found a satisfactory resource online about the War, but I will mention briefly that it was fought (as one might guess) over government resettlement plans. Black Hawk did not acknowledge the authority of the Sauk negotiators to sell off a swath of land to the United States in the 1804 Treaty of St. Louis, and took his supporters on the warpath in 1832. He surrendered at Prairie du Chien in August of that year.

~*~

War leader Black Hawk of the Sauk people

You have taken me prisoner with all my warriors. I am much grieved, for I expected, if I did not defeat you, to hold out much longer, and give you more trouble before I surrendered. I tried hard to bring you into ambush, but your last general understands Indian fighting. The first one was not so wise. When I saw that I could not beat you by Indian fighting, I determined to rush on you, and fight you face to face. I fought hard. But your guns were well aimed. The bullets flew like birds in the air, and whizzed by our ears like the wind through the trees in the winter. My warriors fell around me; it began to look dismal. I saw my evil day at hand. The sun rose dim on us in the morning, and at night it sunk in a dark cloud, and looked like a ball of fire. That was the last sun that shone on Black Hawk. His heart is dead, and no longer beats quick in his bosom. He is now a prisoner to the white men; they will do with him as they wish. But he can stand torture, and is not afraid of death. He is no coward. Black Hawk is an Indian.

He has done nothing for which an Indian ought to be ashamed. He has fought for his countrymen, the squaws and papooses, against white men, who came, year after year, to cheat them and take away their lands. You know the cause of our making war. It is known to all white men. They ought to be ashamed of it. The white men despise the Indians, and drive them from their homes. But the Indians are not deceitful. The white men speak bad of the Indian, and look at him spitefully. But the Indian does not tell lies; Indians do not steal.

An Indian who is as bad as the white men, could not live in our nation; he would be put to death, and eat [sic] up by the wolves. The white men are bad school-masters; they carry false looks, and deal in false actions; they smile in the face of the poor Indian to cheat him; they shake them by the hand to gain their confidence, to make them drunk, to deceive them, and ruin our wives. We told them to let us alone; but they followed on and beset our paths, and they coiled themselves among us like the snake. They poisoned us by their touch. We were not safe. We lived in danger. We were becoming like them, hypocrites and liars, adulterers, lazy drones, all talkers, and no workers.

We looked up to the Great Spirit. We went to our great father. We were encouraged. His great council gave us fair words and big promises, but we got no satisfaction. Things were growing worse. There were no deer in the forest. The oppossum and beaver were fled; the springs were drying up, and our squaws and papooses without victuals to keep them from starving; we called a great council and built a large fire. The spirit of our fathers arose and spoke to us to avenge our wrongs or die…. We set up the war-whoop, and dug up the tomahawk; our knives were ready, and the heart of Black Hawk swelled high in his bosom when he led his warriors to battle. He is satisfied. He will go to the world of spirits contented. He has done his duty. His father will meet him there, and commend him.

The steamboat Warrior at Bad Axe

Black Hawk is a true Indian, and disdains to cry like a woman. He feels for his wife, his children and friends. But he does not care for himself. He cares for his nation and the Indians. They will suffer. He laments their fate. The white men do not scalp the head; but they do worse – they poison the heart, it is not pure with them. His countrymen will not be scalped, but they will, in a few years, become like the white men, so that you can’t trust them, and there must be, as in the white settlements, nearly as many officers as men, to take care of them and keep them in order.

Farewell, my nation. Black Hawk tried to save you, and avenge your wrongs. He drank the blood of some of the whites. He has been taken prisoner, and his plans are stopped. He can do no more. He is near his end. His sun is setting, and he will rise no more. Farewell to Black Hawk.

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  1. Henry Castaigne Member

    To make the libertarian point, it was governments that treated Native American so poorly and corrupted them. I’ve done a little reading about Indian Reservations. Imagine the a more corrupt version of American government paying people to live in communities with no job prospects and no hope of advancement and only giving them enough to live off of without asking for improvement. It’s a recipe that could destroy any people. 

    • #1
    • January 16, 2019, at 7:08 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  2. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I have read several versions of this, but never knew if he gave it in English or if it was translated from an Indian dialect. Does anyone know?

    • #2
    • January 16, 2019, at 8:18 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. The Reticulator Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    I have read several versions of this, but never knew if he gave it in English or if it was translated from an Indian dialect. Does anyone know?

    I’m pretty sure Black Hawk (Makataimeshekiakiak) did not speak English. I have not seen any suggestion anywhere that he did. His autobiography was partly the work of a translator/interpreter. He spoke the Osaukie language, which is one of the Algonquian family of languages, which includes languages like Fox, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Abenaki, Miami, and Ojibwe. I don’t know what other languages he spoke, but I would have expected him to be conversant in Fox (Mesquakie). There are a lot of cognates among these languages. The Makatai portion of his name means “black” and you can recognize that bit in many treaty signatures by people in related language groups. In Fox the “t” sound becomes “th” so would be rendered more like Makathai in English.

    • #3
    • January 16, 2019, at 8:48 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. Jarvis Morse-Loyola Coolidge
    Jarvis Morse-Loyola

    @thereticulator As far as I know it was translated by the Indian agent he surrendered to. 

    • #4
    • January 16, 2019, at 9:07 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history, 

    I think we moan about it too much, 

    • #5
    • January 16, 2019, at 9:24 AM PST
    • 1 like
  6. Jarvis Morse-Loyola Coolidge
    Jarvis Morse-Loyola

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    To make the libertarian point, it was governments that treated Native American so poorly and corrupted them. I’ve done a little reading about Indian Reservations. Imagine the a more corrupt version of American government paying people to live in communities with no job prospects and no hope of advancement and only giving them enough to live off of without asking for improvement. It’s a recipe that could destroy any people.

    I’m a big fan of the Libertarian Point. I’m not arguing in favor of some sort of racial guilt, I don’t agree with the man on everything he’s saying here. I do think it’s historically interesting, and does raise some interesting cultural critiques of American values in practice. I also wanted to share one of those regional stories I grew up with and everybody knew about, but may not be a part of the general consciousness.

    One issue surrounding the end of the War is the Battle of Bad Axe, which is now being called a massacre by modern historians. I can’t quite agree with that, even if the battle was one-sided tactically and technologically. There’s a trend in modern historiography and media to cast Indians as saintly warrior-environmentalists who were the victims of an evil mechanized war machine they couldn’t understand; the “Dances with Wolves” vision of history that accepts, e.g. Black Hawk’s assertion that the Indian isn’t deceitful and has no need of policing like the whites. This attempt to make their cultures more palatable to a Disney-addicted public does great disservice to an enemy who fought brutally, well, and deserves our respect. They were like us: terrible, cruel, stupid and manipulative, but also capable of moral action and mercy.

    • #6
    • January 16, 2019, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  7. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    For what it is worth,

    It is said Abe Lincoln’s mother was a Black Hawk Indian. She died of the “milk sickness” when he was nine years old. Lincoln, during the Black Hawk War, was a Captain in the Illinois Militia. It is said that Lincoln never made contact with the enemy and thus never engaged them in battle. This seems strange for someone born in a one-room cabin on the edge of nowhere in the middle of an Illinois forest. One would have thought that Abe should have been quite good at tracking the Black Hawks.

    Perhaps he just didn’t want to.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
    • January 16, 2019, at 9:55 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. The Reticulator Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    • #8
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:02 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  9. The Reticulator Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    It is said Abe Lincoln’s mother was a Black Hawk Indian.

    Where was that ever said? The Sauk never lived in Kentucky. They were pushed east out of Michigan during the “Beaver Wars” of the mid 1600s, and ended up along the Mississippi River near present-day Rock Island. They also did hunting along the Missouri River in present-day Missouri, but they were in contested territory when they did that.

    There were other people besides the famous Sauk leader who had a name that translates into our language as Black Hawk, but that was not ever a “tribal” name. It might not even have been a clan name.

    While European traders often married Indian women, I don’t happen to know of any instances where the women left their families to live with white people. There are many instances of the reverse.

    • #9
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:09 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. The Reticulator Member

    Jarvis Morse-Loyola (View Comment):
    also wanted to share one of those regional stories I grew up with and everybody knew about, but may not be a part of the general consciousness.

    Given your profile, I would have guessed that you were from Southern California, and not from Black Hawk’s region. But my guessing game is not always at its best.

    • #10
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:12 AM PST
    • Like
  11. Jarvis Morse-Loyola Coolidge
    Jarvis Morse-Loyola

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Jarvis Morse-Loyola (View Comment):
    also wanted to share one of those regional stories I grew up with and everybody knew about, but may not be a part of the general consciousness.

    Given your profile, I would have guessed that you were from Southern California, and not from Black Hawk’s region. But my guessing game is not always at its best.

    I would be very curious to know what gave you that impression. I lived in the Northern part of the state for a while and couldn’t stand it. I only went south for Iron Maiden. 

    • #11
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:22 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Locke On Member

    Twilight of Empire by Allan W. Eckert, is a lightly fictionalized history of the Black Hawk War. It looks like it is currently out of print, and no electronic version, but there are used copies available.

    • #12
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:34 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. The Reticulator Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    For what it is worth,

    It is said Abe Lincoln’s mother was a Black Hawk Indian. She died of the “milk sickness” when he was nine years old. Lincoln, during the Black Hawk War, was a Captain in the Illinois Militia. It is said that Lincoln never made contact with the enemy and thus never engaged them in battle. This seems strange for someone born in a one-room cabin on the edge of nowhere in the middle of an Illinois forest. One would have thought that Abe should have been quite good at tracking the Black Hawks.

    Yes, Lincoln was elected captain of his company, and when his company was disbanded he re-enlisted with another one, as a private. Twice. Lots of up-and-coming young politicians made sure they did militia service during the Black Hawk war, but not all of them re-enlisted like Lincoln did. He was a part of the burial detail that came along later to bury the dead at Stillman’s Run, where the war had started. Here is a photo I took of a monument at the burial site the last time I rode there, in September 2017. The monument was placed there in the very early 20th century, IIRC.

    That’s a good question as to what level of interactions Lincoln would likely have had with native people as a young man. I could answer that question about a number of times and places in the Great Lakes region, but have not read about it for Lincoln’s time and place. It’s because I was interested in these things that I tried to learn a bit of Ojibwe. A number of old-timers claimed to have been able to converse with their Indian friends and playmates when they were younger, or in trading work and food in the case of older people. But I was curious as to whether their stated knowledge of the languages was complete B.S. or not. I’ve concluded that the phrases they recalled in their stories were usually legit – the stuff you’d learn to conduct elementary business dealings and interactions.

     

    • #13
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:34 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  14. The Reticulator Member

    Jarvis Morse-Loyola (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Jarvis Morse-Loyola (View Comment):
    also wanted to share one of those regional stories I grew up with and everybody knew about, but may not be a part of the general consciousness.

    Given your profile, I would have guessed that you were from Southern California, and not from Black Hawk’s region. But my guessing game is not always at its best.

    I would be very curious to know what gave you that impression. I lived in the Northern part of the state for a while and couldn’t stand it. I only went south for Iron Maiden.

    JBS and Orthodox suggested the San Diego area to me.

    • #14
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:50 AM PST
    • Like
  15. The Reticulator Member

    Locke On (View Comment):

    Twilight of Empire by Allan W. Eckert, is a lightly fictionalized history of the Black Hawk War. It looks like it is currently out of print, and no electronic version, but there are used copies available.

    I have mixed feelings about Eckert. On the one hand I have to give him credit for getting me started on nearly 25 years worth of bicycle rides to roadside history. In his footnotes he often tells exactly where things took place, and that made me want to visit those places by bicycle. On the other hand, he sometimes made stuff up, or adopted one particular interpretation for the sake of the narrative. Even though I know better my head is still filled with the Eckert version of the story, which interferes with what I’ve learned of the actual facts.

    It’s hard to get a powerful narrative out of your head even when you know it’s wrong, which is one reason I don’t watch movies or television news.

    • #15
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:57 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. Mark Camp Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    This proud people will always be remembered, honored, and lamented, as long as civilization survives.

    • #16
    • January 16, 2019, at 12:57 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Vectorman Member

    Join other Ricochet members by submitting a Quote of the Day post, the easiest way to start a fun conversation. We have many open dates on the February Schedule. We’ve even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #17
    • January 16, 2019, at 1:18 PM PST
    • Like
  18. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    That is not remotely the same. 

    • #18
    • January 16, 2019, at 1:19 PM PST
    • Like
  19. The Reticulator Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    That is not remotely the same.

    It is so much the same that I once figured I could write a book about it, comparing Black Hawk to Newt Gingrich, and so on. The parallels were amazing. Black Hawk’s personality and standing within his community is like Newt’s. The Native societies like Black Hawk’s were more individualistic than those that replaced his, which were more individualistic than ours, which are less individualistic than those that are replacing ours. Also, more communitarian. (Communitarian is not in all respects the opposite of individualistic, despite what some sophomore anthropologists might say.) The Democrats were using the same tactics to defeat Republicans as the Americans used against Black Hawk. And on and on, including the way the losers spend the greatest share of their time in bitter recriminations.

    However, although the analogies are legion, there were also places where I’d have to bend the history to make it work. I decided I’d rather play the history straight and let the chips fall where they may.

    • #19
    • January 16, 2019, at 1:46 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    That is not remotely the same.

    It is so much the same that I once figured I could write a book about it, comparing Black Hawk to Newt Gingrich, and so on. The parallels were amazing. Black Hawk’s personality and standing within his community is like Newt’s. The Native societies like Black Hawk’s were more individualistic than those that replaced his, which were more individualistic than ours, which are less individualistic than those that are replacing ours. Also, more communitarian. (Communitarian is not in all respects the opposite of individualistic, despite what some sophomore anthropologists might say.) The Democrats were using the same tactics to defeat Republicans as the Americans used against Black Hawk. And on and on, including the way the losers spend the greatest share of their time in bitter recriminations.

    However, although the analogies are legion, there were also places where I’d have to bend the history to make it work. I decided I’d rather play the history straight and let the chips fall where they may.

    Changes within a culture are nothing like the clashes of civilizations to which I am referring. We use culture in such a narrow way these days, but with a long view, the vegan in Portland, OR and the redneck in Woodstock, GA are in the same larger western culture that is far removed from the American Indians, or even the westernized culture of some place like Japan. Our western culture goes though changes and modifications. What is going on now, looked at from the big picture is bumps along the way. 

    Our civilization is the most powerful one in the history of the world, and was already so in 1800. The Indians were toast as soon as we decided to come here. They were never going to go there. There is nothing for us to apoloigze for today. This is the way of the world, period.

    The changes within western civilization, changes to its culture are driven mostly by changes in technology, not Democrat tactics. We are still in the grips of early industrialization, and still having to cope with it. If you want to point to *the* thing which has disrupted out culture the most, it is the Birth Control Pill. Because of that we have fully decoupled sex from having kids, and we have empowered women to a degree never before seen (not that feminists will admit that or seem happy about it). We are in uncharted territory. 

    So, I reject your whole premise. 

    • #20
    • January 16, 2019, at 2:00 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. The Reticulator Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    That is not remotely the same.

    It is so much the same that I once figured I could write a book about it, comparing Black Hawk to Newt Gingrich, and so on. The parallels were amazing. Black Hawk’s personality and standing within his community is like Newt’s. The Native societies like Black Hawk’s were more individualistic than those that replaced his, which were more individualistic than ours, which are less individualistic than those that are replacing ours. Also, more communitarian. (Communitarian is not in all respects the opposite of individualistic, despite what some sophomore anthropologists might say.) The Democrats were using the same tactics to defeat Republicans as the Americans used against Black Hawk. And on and on, including the way the losers spend the greatest share of their time in bitter recriminations.

    However, although the analogies are legion, there were also places where I’d have to bend the history to make it work. I decided I’d rather play the history straight and let the chips fall where they may.

    Changes within a culture are nothing like the clashes of civilizations to which I am referring. We use culture in such a narrow way these days, but with a long view, the vegan in Portland, OR and the redneck in Woodstock, GA are in the same larger western culture that is far removed from the American Indians, or even the westernized culture of some place like Japan. Our western culture goes though changes and modifications. What is going on now, looked at from the big picture is bumps along the way.

    Our civilization is the most powerful one in the history of the world, and was already so in 1800. The Indians were toast as soon as we decided to come here. They were never going to go there. There is nothing for us to apoloigze for today. This is the way of the world, period.

    The changes within western civilization, changes to its culture are driven mostly by changes in technology, not Democrat tactics. We are still in the grips of early industrialization, and still having to cope with it. If you want to point to *the* thing which has disrupted out culture the most, it is the Birth Control Pill. Because of that we have fully decoupled sex from having kids, and we have empowered women to a degree never before seen (not that feminists will admit that or seem happy about it). We are in uncharted territory.

    So, I reject your whole premise.

    Actually you don’t reject it all, because I agree with some of what you said, and it’s part and parcel of my premise. One difference, though, is that you think more in terms of absolute differences and I think in terms of continua. So cultural changes within the civilization are part and parcel of the change of civilizations, and vice versa. I don’t draw a sharp line between the two, and wouldn’t even know how to.

    • #21
    • January 16, 2019, at 2:05 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  22. Henry Castaigne Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    That is not remotely the same.

    It is so much the same that I once figured I could write a book about it, comparing Black Hawk to Newt Gingrich, and so on. The parallels were amazing. Black Hawk’s personality and standing within his community is like Newt’s. The Native societies like Black Hawk’s were more individualistic than those that replaced his, which were more individualistic than ours, which are less individualistic than those that are replacing ours. Also, more communitarian. (Communitarian is not in all respects the opposite of individualistic, despite what some sophomore anthropologists might say.) The Democrats were using the same tactics to defeat Republicans as the Americans used against Black Hawk. And on and on, including the way the losers spend the greatest share of their time in bitter recriminations.

    However, although the analogies are legion, there were also places where I’d have to bend the history to make it work. I decided I’d rather play the history straight and let the chips fall where they may.

    This is why ricochet is the best website in the history of websites. Newt Gingrich can be compared to Black Hawk. I really hope this goes to the main page. 

    • #22
    • January 16, 2019, at 2:13 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  23. Locke On Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Locke On (View Comment):

    Twilight of Empire by Allan W. Eckert, is a lightly fictionalized history of the Black Hawk War. It looks like it is currently out of print, and no electronic version, but there are used copies available.

    I have mixed feelings about Eckert. On the one hand I have to give him credit for getting me started on nearly 25 years worth of bicycle rides to roadside history. In his footnotes he often tells exactly where things took place, and that made me want to visit those places by bicycle. On the other hand, he sometimes made stuff up, or adopted one particular interpretation for the sake of the narrative. Even though I know better my head is still filled with the Eckert version of the story, which interferes with what I’ve learned of the actual facts.

    It’s hard to get a powerful narrative out of your head even when you know it’s wrong, which is one reason I don’t watch movies or television news.

    Agreed that Eckert has his ups and downs, but he covers a period in history that is hard to find in print at all these days. I originally got onto him because of his narrative of the Shawnee wars, in which a couple of my ancestors participated, though their individual deeds are not recorded. One of was a cousin of Daniel Boone, and another likely was on at least one of his raids into Shawnee territory. Comparing known events in their lives to Eckert’s timeline is fun, though needs to be taken with a large size grain of salt (often the case with family history endeavors).

    ETA: I also value him as one of the historical writers about that period (De Voto is another) who doesn’t feel he has to spend every other paragraph apologizing for the past.

    • #23
    • January 16, 2019, at 2:30 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. Randy Webster Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    I’m glad you put “greater” in quotes.

    • #24
    • January 16, 2019, at 3:24 PM PST
    • 1 like
  25. The Reticulator Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    I’m glad you put “greater” in quotes.

    I certainly don’t think it will be greater, but if they completely take over then it will cause offense to say otherwise. They already compare us to “civilized” countries that have government health care and free university education. But if we are safely defeated, then they will be able to honor our leaders, much like Black Hawk and Tecumseh were honored once they were no longer a threat. It already happens, in a way. Note how they honor dead Republicans such as Ronald Reagan, but only after they are safely dead.

    • #25
    • January 16, 2019, at 3:43 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Doug Watt Moderator

    Nice essay, thank you.

    I’ve read Eckert’s books. They are a mixture of history, and fiction, but I don’t say this in a disparaging way. I’m more familiar with the Apache Wars in the American Southwest.

    The Apache Wars were a series of armed conflicts between the United States Army and various Apache nations fought in the southwest between 1849 and 1886, though minor hostilities continued until as late as 1924.

    The Mexican Army defeated the last Apache band in Mexico in 1933. 

     

    • #26
    • January 16, 2019, at 4:12 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. The Reticulator Member

    Locke On (View Comment):

    Agreed that Eckert has his ups and downs, but he covers a period in history that is hard to find in print at all these days. I originally got onto him because of his narrative of the Shawnee wars, in which a couple of my ancestors participated, though their individual deeds are not recorded. One of was a cousin of Daniel Boone, and another likely was on at least one of his raids into Shawnee territory. Comparing known events in their lives to Eckert’s timeline is fun, though needs to be taken with a large size grain of salt (often the case with family history endeavors).

    ETA: I also value him as one of the historical writers about that period (De Voto is another) who doesn’t feel he has to spend every other paragraph apologizing for the past.

    Which Shawnee wars did your ancestors take part in? The ones leading up to George Washington’s Indian wars? The ones involving Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa? 

    I’m just about finished reading William Hogeland’s 2017 book, “Autumn of the Black Snake: George Washington, Mad Anthony Wayne, and the Invasion that Opened the West.” It has given me some Shawnee perspective and context that I hadn’t had before.

     

    • #27
    • January 16, 2019, at 7:24 PM PST
    • Like
  28. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    It appears that Black Hawk was ultimately defeated by a trained army with superior maneuver capability, a steam boat cutting off his retreat and forcing him into fighting against superior firepower.

    Today, the Black Hawk helicopter is at the core of American superior maneuver capability.

    • #28
    • January 16, 2019, at 8:32 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  29. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The lessor culture was pushed aside by the greater, as ever as it has been in history,

    I think we moan about it too much,

    Ricochet is devoted to moaning about our culture being pushed aside by the “greater” one that is overtaking us.

    If they are truly “greater” then they deserve to overtake us and we deserve to be overtaken. We will just be a historical footnote and Ricochet will be irrelevant, a cipher. 

    • #29
    • January 16, 2019, at 9:58 PM PST
    • Like
  30. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge

    Jarvis Morse-Loyola (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    To make the libertarian point, it was governments that treated Native American so poorly and corrupted them. I’ve done a little reading about Indian Reservations. Imagine the a more corrupt version of American government paying people to live in communities with no job prospects and no hope of advancement and only giving them enough to live off of without asking for improvement. It’s a recipe that could destroy any people.

    I’m a big fan of the Libertarian Point. I’m not arguing in favor of some sort of racial guilt, I don’t agree with the man on everything he’s saying here. I do think it’s historically interesting, and does raise some interesting cultural critiques of American values in practice. I also wanted to share one of those regional stories I grew up with and everybody knew about, but may not be a part of the general consciousness.

    One issue surrounding the end of the War is the Battle of Bad Axe, which is now being called a massacre by modern historians. I can’t quite agree with that, even if the battle was one-sided tactically and technologically. There’s a trend in modern historiography and media to cast Indians as saintly warrior-environmentalists who were the victims of an evil mechanized war machine they couldn’t understand; the “Dances with Wolves” vision of history that accepts, e.g. Black Hawk’s assertion that the Indian isn’t deceitful and has no need of policing like the whites. This attempt to make their cultures more palatable to a Disney-addicted public does great disservice to an enemy who fought brutally, well, and deserves our respect. They were like us: terrible, cruel, stupid and manipulative, but also capable of moral action and mercy.

    It should be pointed out that until 1620, a full 20% of the settlers who set foot on this continent abandoned their settlements and went and lived with Indians. The Native people understood how to live here; they had sweat lodges, an ability to glean food from both hunting and agriculture, and a society that offered people a decent way of life.

    In the late 1700’s, affluent Virginians would visit neighboring Indian tribes to partake of a sweat lodge.

    Even in the 1800’s, people who were captured by Indians as children often were loathe to go back to white society.

    The Iroquois nation of what is now New York is viewed by some students of history as being a template for our Constitution.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/28/us/iroquois-constitution-a-forerunner-to-colonists-democratic-principles.html

    Before Europeans settled upstate in the 1600’s, the Five Nations of the Iroquois lived under a constitution that had three main principles, peace, equity or justice and
    ”the power of the good minds,” i.e. that of the elders over the young, Professor Lyons said.

     

     

    • #30
    • January 16, 2019, at 10:01 PM PST
    • 1 like

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