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Native Americans
The Black Hawk Wars



The Black Hawk Wars
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.84

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    sporadic, necessarily, imminent, tribal, removal, authority, treaty, deals, toll, policy, president, civilize, banks, chief, conflict, affected
     content words:    Thomas Jefferson, Native Americans, Black Hawk, General Henry Atkinson, Major Stillman, On May, Mississippi River


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The Black Hawk Wars
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     In 1804, when Thomas Jefferson was president, he set a policy in action that was intended to civilize the Native Americans as quickly as possible. He wanted to make them all into farmers. When that happened, they would no longer need their wide hunting grounds. Those grounds could be divided up and sold for more farms. The main problem with that was that no one bothered to ask the people if that was what they wanted to do.
 
2     In 1804, a treaty was signed and ratified between the Sauk and Fox people and the Federal government. The tribesmen representing the Sauk and Fox had no authority to make deals for their people. Also, the natives could not read the treaty they were asked to sign. What they were told was in the treaty was not necessarily the truth.
 
3     The Sauk and Fox people were unhappy when the terms of the treaty became known. The Federal government ignored them.
 
4     Later treaties had clauses endorsing the 1804 treaty, but when the people could not read, who knows if they were told it was there. They still could not read the language and had to trust the men writing it out.
 
5     Black Hawk and his people had moved to the western side of the Mississippi as they were required to do. Then he and some 1,000 followers wanted to return to their old homes. It was this return and a series of errors that resulted in the Black Hawk war.

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