We have a recent news report of American fighters in Afghanistan posing while urinating on some dead Afghanis, presumably belonging to the Taliban. The video was posted to Utube. The activity of a few individuals was shocking. It was disrespectful, and individuals on both sides of the war are outraged.
The desecration of Black Hawk’s grave must have been quite similar. James Turner took his head, for God’s sake. He boiled it in water to remove the flesh. The motive was to get some money, but only a pittance would have been possible.
Both sides were likely shocked by this outrage. But the Indians were in a situation that is now called asymmetrical warfare. They were overwhelmingly outmatched. There was not much they could do.
Black Hawk’s bones were recovered, and temporarily stored in a museum in Burlington, Iowa. The museum burned down.
The damage was done. It could not be repaired.