Great Feast for the Potawattomi

We gave the Pottawatomie a great feast. I presented Washeown with a good horse. My braves gave one to each of his party, and, at parting, said they wished us to make peace, which we did not promise, but told them that we would not send out war parties against the settlements.

A short time after the Pottawatomie had gone, a party of thirty braves belonging to our nation, from the peace camp on the Missouri, paid us a visit. They exhibited five scalps which they had taken on the Missouri, and wished us to join in a dance over them, which we willingly did. They related the manner in which they had taken these scalps. Myself and braves showed them the two we had taken near the Quiver, and told them the cause that induced us to go out with the war party, as well as the manner in which we took these scalps, and the difficulty we had in obtaining them.

They recounted to us all that had taken place, the number that had been slain by the peace party, as they were called and recognized to be, which far surpassed what our warriors, who had joined the British, had done. This party came for the purpose of joining the British, but I advised them to return to the peace party, and told them the news which the Pottawatomie had brought. They returned to the Missouri, accompanied by some of my braves whose families were there.

After “sugar-making” was over in the spring, I visited the Fox village at the lead mines. They had nothing to do with the war, and consequently were not in mourning. I remained there some days, spending my time very pleasantly with them in dancing and feasting. I then paid a visit to the Pottawattomie village on the Illinois river, and learned that Sanatuwa and Tatapuckey had been to St. Louis. Gomo told me that “peace had been made between his people and the Americans, and that seven of his band remained with the war chief to make the peace stronger.” He then told me: “Washeown is dead! He had gone to the fort to carry some wild fowl to exchange for tobacco, pipes and other articles. He had secured some tobacco and a little flour, and left the fort before sunset, but had not proceeded far when he was “shot dead” by a white war chief, who had concealed himself near the path for that purpose. He then dragged him to the lake and threw him in, where I afterwards found him. I have since given two homes and a rifle to his relatives, not to break the peace, to which they have agreed.”

I remained for some time at the village of Gomo, and went with him to the fort to pay a visit to the war chief. I spoke the Pottawattomie tongue well, and was taken for one of their people by him. He treated us friendly, and said he was very much displeased about the murder of’ Washeown. He promised us he would find out and punish the person who killed him. He made some inquiries about the Sacs, which I answered. On my return to Rock river, I was informed that a party of soldiers had gone up the Mississippi to build a fort at Prairie du Chien. They stopped near our village, appearing very friendly, and were treated kindly by our people.

We commenced repairing our lodges, putting our village in order, and clearing our cornfields. We divided the fields belonging to the party on the Missouri among those who wanted them, on condition that they should be relinquished to their owners on their return from the peace establishment. We were again happy in our village. Our women went cheerfully to work and all moved on harmoniously.

Some time afterward, five or six boats arrived loaded with soldiers on their way to Prairie du Chien to reinforce the garrison at that place. They appeared friendly and were well received, and we held a council with the war chief. We had no intention of hurting him or any of his party, for we could easily have defeated them. They remained with us all day and gave oar people plenty of whisky. Doing the night a party arrived, by way of Rock river, who brought us six kegs of powder. They told us that the British had gone to Prairie du Chien and taken the fort. They wished us to again join them in the war, which we agreed to do. I collected my warriors and determined to pursue the boats, which had sailed with a fair wind. If we had known the day before, we could easily have taken them all, as the war chief used no precaution to prevent it.


Black Hawk, Patterson, J. B., editor, Leclair, Atoine, interpreter  Autobiography of Black Hawk or Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, Self Published by J. B. Patterson, 1882.

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