The History of the Butterfly, Part 123: The Rivals Dance

Even while Indian Removal was in full force, the group of Indians that we are following—the “Confederated Sac and Fox” seemed more interested in their warfare and competition with the Sioux than they were with the policy of the U. S. Government.

To quote from the October 7, 1837 Niles’ National Register:

“The number of Indians in Washington impart great variety to the groups which throng the avenue.  A few days since another deputation, composed of Sacs, Foxes, and Ioways, in charge of Maj. Pilcher, arrived in this city.  Among them are Black Hawk and his son, who are now without rank or station in their tribe, and the celebrated Keo-kuck, one of the most sagacious Indians on our frontier.  They were also invited her for the purpose of making a treaty for the disposition of their lands and the settlement of the war with the Sioux, which has not only been attended with great loss of life, but rendered it dangerous for traders and others to enter their territory.  They were confronted, very unwisely we think, with the Sioux on Thursday last, in Dr. Laurie’s church, when a war of recrimination and sarcasm ensued, which would not have discredited the councilors at the other end of the city.  Keo-kuck was the Thersites of the day; and in reply to one of the Sioux orators, who said that the ears of the Sacs and Foxes were dull and must be pierced with a stick of wood before they could hear the counsels of their Great Father, replied—‘Yes it may be true that our ears are dull, and that wood should enter them to make us hear—but the ears of our enemies are stopped, and they must be pierced with iron before they will suffer the voice of our Father to enter.’…

The Sioux entertained the public with some of their war dances on Wednesday last on the public square at the corner of Fourteenth street, near Franklin row.  The ground was marshy and entirely unsuited for the purpose, and the disorderly conduct of the crowd, which pressed upon the poor Indians, completed their annoyance, and compelled them to leave the ground, evidently much disgusted with the rudeness of the civilized savages by which they were surrounded….

A short time before the Sioux retired, the deputation of Sacs and Foxes arrived on the ground in all their savage finery, with feathery pennons streaming in the air.  It was their intention, also, to dance before the pale faces, in rivalry of their old enemies.  But the same causes which dispersed the Sioux, induced them to retire.”

About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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