Repairing broken things…

Sheriff Mark was sitting in Wiler’s sipping a cup of coffee at the counter, down toward the left end, with a newspaper open but not being read –a paper from Rockford that he looks through to see what his life would be like if he still worked there.

John would stop by every so often to warm-up the coffee and linger for a casual word that never went beyond a half sentence, and that’s when Jack wandered in and sat down next to Sheriff Mark to join the conversation with I’ve got some news that might interest you, Mark.

And within minutes they’d figured out that the Stevenson boy, John, had probably decided no one would look in the storage room after he’d cleaned the church basement.

The Clark boy was the son of Ross and Sharon Clark who lived northeast of town on 330 acres of good land with forty Holsteins, but it was hard work just to make a living and their income was below the area average of thirty-three thousand dollars a year. They were in church almost every Sunday, but Ross would sometimes show up late or not at all if the milking didn’t go fast enough on Sunday mornings, which was about half the time, but Sharon and her boy John would show up anyway.

The Clark farm was a family farm that Ross’s dad had worked and his grandfather Jim had worked, and his great grandfather Thomas Clark had inherited from a founder’s family, John Allen who came to Elizabeth in 1842 from Derbyshire, England after stopping for a while down in Springfield, and married a young girl named Beth, had nine children, and their boys worked the farm and their girls married other farmers, and they all made a good living which for farmers meant that they kept their property, ate their own livestock, shared what they had with neighbors, and repaired things when they broke.

Life in a small town…

Three of every four people in Elizabeth have finished high school, but only one in ten have a college degree, and only one in two hundred went to graduate school, and if this was a big city that would mean there was a lot of crime –burglaries, petty larceny, assaults, robberies, drug crime, auto thefts, rapes, even murders, but Elizabeth isn’t a big city.

Yes, there was a burglary last year, and one the year before that and the year before that, but everyone knows they were just pranks and everyone knew the high school boys involved and no charges were filed because Sheriff Mark Took care of things, as people say, and the old trophy was returned to the school.

That old trophy was from 1957 when for some strange reason the boys’ track team from Elizabeth High School won the area sectionals. Some say it’s because Kid’s used to run but now they’ve all got cars, and they’d say it as a complaint and almost everyone would agree.

The trophy was unusually big for a sectional championship, and it was heavy too, with a thick wood base and now it sits in a trophy case in the main hallway of River Ridge High School on West Street –that is, when it’s not hidden in someone’s barn the week before the pep rally on Friday of homecoming weekend when it miraculously appears on the stage and the principal just shakes her head and tries to ignore all the fuss.

There’s a football team, but only by combining with Warren High School, because on its own there are only one hundred fifty kids in the school, and the boys who play football are also the basketball team plus a few of the smaller guys, but they have to play baseball with guys from Scales Mound to have a full team, but there are enough girls for a volleyball team as long as no more than three girls are out sick, and their own basketball team and even softball -there are more girls than boys after all. But they play, they don’t necessarily win; they all just play and it’s good for them.

Even when the football team has to fulfill their traditional, historic duty of stealthy removing the ’57 Track trophy sometime early in the week and everyone knows they’re going to do it, even the principal and the enforcer known as the Assistant Principal but they still leave it right there in the case with a flimsy little lock that everyone knows how to slip up to the top in the open space and open the left side glass.

It takes less than a minute and anyone taller than five-foot-seven can do it and it must be the vitamins because almost everyone is over five-foot-seven these days, even the girls. So, the Assistant Principal called the new Sheriff Jason Markinson the son of the real Sheriff Markinson and filed a police report about a stolen trophy, which just made people shake their heads.

It’s not like the trophy is worth anything, or that anybody would want it, but that’s not why it goes missing annually, and this year it wound up in the basement of the Baptist church, of all places.

Some damn fair…

Black Hawk felt badly about leaving his home and said I loved my towns, my cornfields, and the home of my people, I fought for them, and so he crossed the Mississippi early in 1832 and Governor Reynolds of Illinois was alarmed and called out the Illinois Militia of volunteers that included a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln.

Everyone was afraid of the Militia and didn’t want Black Hawk, his four hundred warriors and one thousand women and children to stay in Illinois, which Black Hawk obviously planned to do since he planted some corn at the invitation of his friend White Cloud of the Winnebagos.

When news of a militia of thousands reached him, he gave up and was about retreat back to Iowa but his warriors were hunted down and killed so Black Hawk started hunting down units of the Militia and killing them right back and that was the start of the Black Hawk War.

The narrative of Fort Days didn’t talk about Black Hawk’s troubles as a warrior-Chief, how the Americans killed the women and children of his Sac from a steam boat on the Mississippi when they were trying to swim to Iowa, shooting them in the back or letting them drown, how he thought himself betrayed and bullied and misunderstood and irrationally feared by either/or people who said they couldn’t live alongside Sac and Fox and Iowa and Ottawa and Chaipewa and Potawatomi and Winnebago and Sioux and Menominee and Cree and Kickapoo and Oto and Osage and Cherokee and Delaware.

It was more than a We were here first, thing to Black Hawk. The Great Spirit puts people where they’re born and they’re supposed to be happy there, just like a providential God has one person born an African woman born in slavery or an Illinois rail-splitter who would stand six-foot-four and free the woman born in slavery. It was figuring-out what to do in-between that was hard to reconcile for Black Hawk.

Pastor Webber wore the old costume of dark suit and ribbon tie and bristled at the hat Mrs. Morrison insisted he wear because Baptist men didn’t cover their heads and some Baptist women still did when they did religious things like weddings.

And the militia gathered around like they were guarding the wedding party with swords and muskets at hand, and Mr. Morrison was in the midst of them playing the role of Captain Clack Stone who was responsible for the Apple River settlement militia and would sound the order for the conclusion of the wedding ceremony yelling-out an order to Retreat to the Fort, because he feared an imminent attack.

There were maybe two-hundred people standing there, but with a cordless microphone tucked into the costumes their voices boomed-out into the air this Saturday afternoon, and even included an unfortunate broadcast of a trucker’s comments about traffic near town, because Of some damn fair or something.

Wherever you go…

The script of the Wherever You Go Will Be a Home to Me Ceremony gives a narration light on specifics and long on ideals and scheduling. It’s set on a warm June weekend with the attack on the Sunday afternoon at one o’clock, immediately followed by the pie and hot dog eating contests downtown at two-thirty and then the craft awards ceremony downtown at four o’clock and the pig roast starting at four-thirty. –And think of it…all the settlers had to worry about was an unscheduled attack of savage Indians, arrows flying, muskets firing, and the unfortunate end of scalping and scalp dance if one’s defense was unsuccessful, but that would be without the pie and hot dog eating contests, one presumes.

It all started back in the spring of 1832 when Chief Black Hawk led an attack on the settlers –if you ask the settlers of the area; or back in 1812 and that little skirmish between the U.S. and the British which ended well for everyone but the native Indians –if you ask the Indians; or back in 1804 when four traveled to St. Louis to retrieve an imprisoned Sac and gave away fifteen million acres of land east of the Mississippi for some alcohol and a couple thousand dollars –if you ask the Sac; or it started back in 1795 and the Treaty of Greenville when the U.S. agreed to be friends with the native Indians and protect them but never quite got around to that –if you ask the U.S. Government.

Funny thing is that someone did ask Chief Black Hawk, after he was defeated and captured and became a public prisoner of the U.S. Government and was paraded around complete with his headdress and they used his real name, Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, and a translator recorded Black Hawk’s life story from his birth at the Sac Village on the Rock river in 1767 to his final wish: I am now done.

A few more moons and I must follow my fathers to the shades! May the Great Spirit keep our people and the whites always at peace –is the sincere wish of Black Hawk.

And after he died in October, 1837, there was even a sort of a Let’s bury the hatchet statement: A few summers ago, I was fighting against you. I did wrong, perhaps, but that is past. It is buried. Let it be forgotten. Rock river is beautiful country. I loved my towns, my cornfields, and the home of my people.

It is yours now. Keep it as we did. And he did not object to the discovery of lead ore in the area in 1821, or even the trickle of miners and settlers and their cabins and even their general store, but he did object to their It’s you or us attitude and President Andrew Jackson’s order to remove native Indians to the west of the Mississippi in 1828.

Awkward honeymoon…

Janice Morrison called Pastor Webber about the annual recreation of religious ceremonies that the Historic Foundation put on at the Fort and said We’d like you to play the role of an itinerant preacher performing a wedding ceremony, and Jack laughed to himself about being asked to pretend to be a preacher.

The old-timer Baptists and real itinerants would have said I’ll show ‘em, and slip a good You’re all going to hell without Jesus, gospel message into the historic recreation and then not get invited back until they run out of preachers and reverends and priests who will play along with the program and not try to slip a sectarian message into the recreation.

The Morrisons were historically Lutherans, and Mr. Morrison dabbled in the church when he was younger, and Janice insisted on a Lutheran wedding, but soon enough they joined the new church called the Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce.

In Elizabeth the Chamber is a pillar of the community, and sponsors most of the new tourism activity (in conjunction with the new Historical Society, and the Morrisons are involved in both). The official purpose of the Chamber is: To provide the economic growth and welfare of the business community contributing to the quality of life in the Elizabeth area.

It stated back in the 1980’s with about thirty members, and after the electric company and the churches, it is the biggest organization in town. They raised the money for the Veteran’s Memorial downtown, bought flags for patriotic holidays to hang from the street lights and stick in the ground along Highway 20 on the Fourth of July, ordered two Welcome to Elizabeth banners that should be here soon, bought a caboose for the Great Western Train Depot Museum, bought wreaths for Christmastime that they hang all over town and judge the decorations on their annual Christmas Walk (which takes about ten minutes), organized Make a Difference Day, Spring Fling with a Chicken Dinner, the Elizabeth Fair with Parade, Cow Pie Lottery, and Hobo Hap’nin’, and started the Apple River Fort Board of Governors that put together the Fort for Fort Days.

You get the impression that they’d like to take credit for anything that happens in town, including the change of seasons, but they do a good job with what they’ve been given to work with –a much better job than most churches do with the people the good Lord gives them to work with.

Folks belong to both because they think they need to, one to be successful here and the other to be successful there.

Both are always talking about unity and community and encouragement and fostering and planning for growth, but the Chamber’s growth is measurable while the churches’ is spiritual. And both are always advocating and commenting on impact and perception, but folks actually listen to that Chamber.

They do the Wherever You Go Will Be a Home to Me ceremony in June and it’s supposed to be happening just before Chief Black Hawk attacks so they get to combine the frontier customs with a famous Injun war and another recreation called Fight on the Frontier complete with militia in uniforms, musket firing, and a craft fair downtown called Fort Days.

Mrs. Morrison reminded Pastor Webber that It’s just a recreation, and the couple isn’t really getting married, and there’s a script and we’d appreciate it if you followed it –the script, that is. Her enthusiasm was as obvious as her concern about asking a Baptist pastor to participate.

It was the first time he’d been asked, but he went every year and nodded at all the other pastors and priests and reverends they used, some of them from Hanover or even Stockton. He guessed that the Historic Foundation didn’t need a real pastor, and Mrs. Morrison admitted as much, But people appreciate it –the folks from Elizabeth, that is –and it does lend an air of authenticity, she said, and Pastor Webber said he’d be pleased to do it, And follow the script.

When Jack asked if he should do some research, Mrs. Morrison did not seem to be impressed.

The script was written and it was historical So it didn’t change from year to year, and the Chamber had approved the material anyway, she said. There was some literature that they had used that I suppose it would be okay if you looked at them, But, she quickly added, We’d really appreciate it if you’d follow the script, and the We was meant to carry the force of the entire Chamber of Commerce with its eighty-plus dues-paying members. And she said she’d drop-off the literature and right there on the front cover of the brochure was a photo of the Wherever You Go Will Be a Home to Me Ceremony from a few years ago with the old United Methodist pastor playing the role of the preacher and Mrs. Morrison right there dressed like the mother-of-the-bride, and all of them had a worried looks on their faces as if the Indians were about to attack them all with their arrows and hatchets.

The description under the photo read Under the threats of Indian war, a young couple in the early settlement are determined to marry despite the impending violence and uncertainty. And it didn’t look much like a wedding since the wedding party was a group of serious militia-men with muskets at the ready and Jack wondered what kind of honeymoon the couple would have stuck in a little fort with dozens of other people.

Fort days…

It was built hastily in the warm months of 1832 to provide safe haven from the threat of native Indians –Sac and Fox warriors led by Chief Black Hawk –and after a single Sunday afternoon’s fracas lasting forty-five minutes it was never used again.

So, of course, someone tore it down and used the lumber for a barn leaving it up to an archaeologist to rediscover the original site when folks in town decided that it was all historic which was obvious because folks had organized a Historic Foundation making it official.

They hired an archaeologist because nobody remembered where, exactly, the Fort was built.

Some said it was on a hillside to the north but nothing looked big enough for the fort they imagined, and others said it was right where downtown Elizabeth is today, and so everyone was surprised when the archaeologist said it was not quite where anyone said it was, and it was not quite as big as everyone said it must have been.

He found musket balls, a cellar and trash pit, and the footprint of the famous Apple River Fort, but it was only a fifty by seventy foot area and that disappointed the official Historic Foundation, but they did the best with what they had.

When forts were forts…

When things built and kept since long ago become known as antiques and sold and bought instead of just being old and ours that’s when someone’s selling history as a novelty. People come to town for historic celebrations because their best days are behind them and they try to recapture what they’ve lost –when life’s become history, and homes become historic.

In an old farmhouse that is still a farmhouse, built back in 1854, there are the same sparse furnishings that made the place look like a museum even before it was a museum, and the infrequency of clutter makes oddities all that more odd.

The windows have window seats, the porches are real porches as if an outdoor room without walls and not just stoops, and when they were built they seemed a mile from the road. And the regulator clock on the dining room wall hasn’t worked since the turn of the century but it’s not accident that the hands point to eight-twenty –that’s the time President Lincoln was shot and all stopped clocks that remain on display are dutifully and religiously set to that fateful moment.

These things were built to last, but just because people built them well, not because they wanted them to become antiques or even historic. Like the tree rows along the northside of so many farmhouses were planted and probably did little good for their first generation, but eventually blocked the blustery and frigid winds that blew incessantly from December to February in northwest Illinois. Those tree rows are still there –and they still work.

And then there are things that were built for just one occasion, put together to work and when the work was done their parts were pirated and used for something else more useful at the time –and that is the Apple River Fort.

Blackhawk attacked…

And Black Hawk mused, The white blade is stroking flesh of all Indian peoples, and Why did the Great Spirit ever send the whites to this island, to drive us from our homes, and introduce among us poisonous liquors, disease and death? They should have remained on the island where the Great Spirit first placed them.

Years later Black Hawk said, In my sixty-seventh year I am prisoner of the whites. Between the spaces of barred metal, my people, my dead people, appear, sullen as judges. So, it appears he was a warrior-poet as well, but a sad one.

Clear streams run in our veins.

Pure air wings our bodies home.

Our sorrow for lost lands

and lost people is the sorrow

of spirits, the sorrow of our fathers,

earth sorrow. Our lives are rising

in wings of smoke from bone

fires on mountainsides into

the shuddering black torch of sky,

into flaming night,

into dreams and song.

Black Hawk was also a-typical for Indian Chiefs because he married only one woman named As-she-wa-qua, Singing Bird, and he wouldn’t drink alcohol and complained incessantly about the evils of alcohol as if he was organizing a local chapter of a Prohibitionist society.

When the four Sac warriors returned from St. Louis in 1804 drunk and having sold-out lands they didn’t have authority to sell, Black Hawk along with the Sac Indians refused to recognize the agreement, and this was too typical of Indians according to the U.S. government. In the ways that mattered to settlers he was no different from any other Indian Chief who would hunt down, kill, scalp and dance around the scalps to celebrate his victory, he had to, it was expected of Chiefs to take proportional revenge.

When he was captured and brought to Washington to meet President Andrew Jackson, Black Hawk said he fought because he had to, not because he Expected to conquer the whites.

They have too many horses, too many men. I took up the hatchet, for my part, to revenge injuries which my people could no longer endure. Black Hawk went on to insist that he had to fight, otherwise his own people would say Black Hawk is a woman; he is too old to be a chief; he is no Sac. So, he had to take revenge or people would question his masculinity, and that’s part of why he was romanticized as a brave symbol of heroic life and leadership, and he swore he never killed a white woman or child, only other Indian women and children.

The War broke out in earnest on May fourteenth, in the evening, near Dixon when forty warriors attached about three hundred militia and they retreated from the Indians. News spread and many from Galena got on steamboats and left the area, but in the Apple River settlement folks met at Labaum and St. Vrain General Store and said they weren’t going anywhere.

They chose a knoll, felled trees, dug a trench, built a stockade, dug those rough posts down and left them reaching a dozen feet above the ground and started to collect supplies and water for the forty-five settlers in case it ever happened that Black Hawk attacked.

Hunting goose-berries…

Mr. John A. Wakefield:

SIR: — In reply to your request, I proceed to give an account of the attack of the Indians on Apple River Fort. Apple River Fort is situated about fourteen miles east of Galena. It was on the 24th of June, when harmony and peace appeared to reign through the fort, the day before a wagon had been dispatched to Galena for the purpose of bringing a supply of lead and meat, which had run short in the afternoon on Sunday, the wagon arrived with a supply of meat and lead.

About the time the team was removed from the wagon, the ladies of the fort had assembled to go to the river to hunt goose-berries; after starting they discovered coming from towards Galena three men, and being anxious to hear the news from there, they concluded to wait, expecting to hear something about the Indians.

When they arrived they proved to be men on an express from Galena going to Dixon’s ferry on Rock river; one of the men was a Mr. F. Dixon, the other two I have no recollection of their names.

They were all intoxicated , after coming up they recollected that their guns were empty; one of the men dismounted and charged his piece, the other two would not; the man, after loading his gun, mounted his horse and they all rode off in full speed, whooping and hallooing towards Dixon’s ferry.

When they had got to the distance of about three hundred yards, the one that carried the loaded gun was some fifty or sixty yards ahead of the other two, when a large number of Indians, being in ambush; arose and fired upon him; when he fell from his horse, shot through the thigh; his horse fled and left him; he arose and fired at the Indians at about the distance of fifteen steps, but his fire took no effect as was ever ascertained.

The Indians made towards him with their hatchets, when the other two coming up to his relief with their empty guns, they presented their guns, which caused the Indians to halt till the wounded man had got between them and the fort, they kept giving back with their guns presented till the wounded man gained the fort. The firing of the guns gave the alarm just in time for the people to make their retreat to the fort.

Apple River Fort had once been an extensive smelting establishment, and had become a considerable village, the fort being small, families lived in these houses in day time, and every one had his own to himself, but at night all repaired to the fort for safety.

The Indians pursued these men within firing distance of the fort, all on horseback, they rode up, dismounted and hitched their horses, and I think in about three minutes the fort was surrounded by about one hundred and fifty Indians, with all the savage ferocity and awful appearance, that those monsters could possibly appear in.

The inhabitants had all reached the fort in time to defend themselves, which appeared to have been a providential thing, for if it had not been for the firing of the Indians on the express bearers, the fort would have certainly been taken, as the people would have been taken upon a surprise when they were not apprehending the least kind of danger from those savage barbarians.

There was a very heavy fire kept up for the space of one hour on both sides. Early in the engagement a Mr. George Herclurode [sic] was shot in the neck, and never spoke afterwards, he being at a port hole trying to defend himself and the helpless inmates of the fort; a Mr. James Nuting [sic] was also shot at the same time in the head, but not mortally. There appeared to be no dismay in the fort.

Such bravery and heroism amongst women has scarcely ever been surpassed in any country. Women and children were all actively engaged in the defence of the fort. Girls eight years old were busily engaged in running balls and making cartridges, and women loading guns.

The Indians got into those houses before spoken of, and knocked out the chinking and kept up their fire until they got discouraged. They then commenced plundering the houses, chopt, split and tore up a quantity of fine furniture. There was scarcely a man or woman that was left with a second suit of clothing.

They went into my father’s house; there was a large bureau full of fine clothes, they took six fine cloth coats and a number of fine ruffle shirts, with their tomahawks they split the drawers and took the contents.

They ripped open the bedticks, emptied the feathers, took all the bedclothing, and broke all the delf in the cupboards. Some of the out houses were kept for the purpose of storing away provisions; they got into those houses where a number of flour barrels were stowed away; they would lie down on their faces and roll a barrel after them until they would get into a ravine, where they were out of danger; they then would empty the barrels of flour, after they had destroyed this necessary article, and when they found they could not succeed in taking the fort as they expected, they then commenced the warfare upon the stock; they killed all the cattle that were near the fort and took a number of fine horses to the number of about twenty, which were never got again by the owners.

The horse that lost his rider in the first onset ran to the fort, which the Indians did not get.

Mr. Dixon on his retreat never stopt at the fort, thinking from the large number of Indians the fort would be taken, he made for Galena, and not being acquainted with the country he missed his road, and went to the house of Mr. John McDonald, who had a very large farm, of which Apple river formed a part of the fence.

When he got to the house he found a large number of Indians at that place, and in a few minutes found himself completely surrounded; he lit from his horse, let down a pair of draw-bars, and made his escape across the river to Galena.

At the time the Indians commenced the fire upon the express bearers, the people of the fort started an express to Galena for assistance, which never came until about eleven o’clock the next day. Colonel Strode who had the command at Galena, marched to their assistance with about one hundred men. But this little band of men, women and children, had bravely stood their ground and kept the field, in spite of the Black Hawk and his ferocious savage brothers, with all their frightful yells and war-whoops.

But it was not without some suffering that this small handful did it. There was no water in the fort, and being taken upon a surprise, the people had not time to lay any in after the attack was first made upon the express bearers, and the weather being very warm, the men and women became so fatigued and exhausted in time of the engagement that they were compelled to drink dish water, to quench their thirst.

This fort was commanded by Captain Stone, and there were twenty-five men besides women and children.

This small force stood their ground before the great and mighty chief called Black Hawk, and upwards of one hundred and fifty of those hideous monsters, that take so much delight in their savage warfare; as it was afterwards ascertained that Black Hawk commanded in person at this engagement.

It was supposed that the Indians lost several of their number in this skirmish, as they were seen putting several Indians on their horses and packing them off during the engagement, and after it was over there was a quantity of blood discovered on the ground. —

The Indians in killing the cattle would skin and take out of a beef such pieces as they seemed to like best, leaving the balance on the ground.

Apple River Fort is about sixteen miles from Kellogg’s Grove and it is believed by all that this was the war party of Indians that attacked Major Dement’s spy batallion [sic] on the next day at this grove.

Blackhawk’s dreams…

Dictated from the tongue of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, known to the white man as Black Hawk, Chief of the Sac, born on island Saukenuk of Rock river in the white man’s year of 1767 in the Thunder Clan, but soon to die. –This written down by Antione LeClair, U.S. Interpreter for the Sacs and Foxes, on the tenth moon, 1838, but never published before.

Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak said:

When I was just a boy and not yet my people’s Chief, the Great Spirit called me to lead my people, as my father had done bravely in more peaceful times. The hatchet was buried, the bow was at rest, corn was planted and taken-in, women had birthed many healthy children, and the land was quiet.

The Great Spirit had given my father a dream that he spoke to the men before he departed. See the many blankets and the strong young men? he asked. The Great Spirit has told me, when I was just a boy and not a Chief, that a time of peace is not a time to lose courage, but a preparation for what is to come.

The white man will come soon and drive the Thunder Clan from this home, across the river in time of snow. Women and young women will weep and men and young men will become brave warriors, some will take a scalp and dance for the first time. And a child will be called to lead the people. That was the dream my father spoke before closing his eyes to be with his fathers.

On another occasion, Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak said:

The great warrior and leader of our nation was also my father who played with me when I was just a boy and not yet a Chief. He told me of his journey into the forest when a young man, without food or drink or company of his family he sought the Great Spirit who sought him. This is the way of our people.

He dreamt of a deer approaching without fear. Their eyes met and it was as they were brothers. The Great Spirit made him ride through the land on the deer and he was shown the river, the forest, the hills, and the fields. He heard the sound of children at play, songs of gratitude, the smell of fires and roasting food but he did not desire the meat. He was told this land was given to the nation for a season of peace for good labor and hunting. But in the next season there would be crying and hunger.

When I was told this dream I asked what would come next, The next season, after rest and after hunger, what did you learn by the Great Spirit? My father said he was not told of this season, but the next leader of our people, a child who now laughs, would be Chief of a crying and hungering people. And the child would be met by the eagle. And like a boy and his father, we resumed our play together.

Seasons passed and we continued to enjoy peace, even while we fought with our ordinary enemies from across the great river, and I enjoyed the first taste of bravery and took my first scalp at fifteen years of age. But I learned the bravery of retreat as well as the bravery of attack, and I practiced the ways of my father who fought when attached, when our hunting grounds were taken, when our food and our home were threatened. We took no joy in this, but enjoyed the success that the Great Spirit gave to us.

But the time of rest seemed to be passed and enemies grew more numerous, and white men with guns who acted not with purpose but often after consuming alcohol threatened us without reason, and my father rested with his fathers and I will join them soon. I blackened my face, did not eat, and asked the Great Spirit about the seasons my father had spoken of; I hunted and fished, but I was not happy. I sought the Great Spirit then by taking no food, drinking no water from the streams nearby and went into the woods. I was looking for the deer that met my father, but I was afraid and the Great Spirit was wiser than a young brave. There was no deer, but I looked up and saw an eagle soaring above me, circling, waiting for me.

With the eagle I flew over the forest, above the trees, and I saw the hills descending into the valley of the great river, and I saw my people, our tents, our women and children but they were not singing or laughing –they were quiet and busy and there was no joy in their labor. In the distance I saw many faces, white faces, angered and cursing

I awoke from my dream and returned to my people to lead them from our home. I became the Chief of women who were crying and men who would be brave but had not taken scalps or tasted blood going against our enemies. But the enemies of my fathers were not to be our only enemies, and the ways of the white men were new to us and hard to understand.

When being transported from Fort Monroe to Iowa, Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak said:

After returning to our home to the east of the great river, we found no peace (this was after being driven from our homes by the white man because of a treaty signed by some of our braves in drunkenness but not agreed upon by me or all the braves as is our custom). And after the invitation to plant corn and make a home once again in the lands of our fathers, I sought the Great Spirit and in my sleep I was met by the eagle again. I saw the grave of my father as we flew toward the sun rising, along the great river. There were white soldiers, riding horses and firing their guns as my people ran, hiding in the woods, children and women hunted by warriors. They were chased as a fish upstream in a river known by trees bearing apple fruits. They hid for one moon in a quiet place and prayed that this might be their home. But the white women and men had made this there home not being content to stay where the Great Spirit had placed them.

I circled with the eagle over the woods, watching over my people, and saw drunken men riding toward their hiding place. When they met there were threats but little bravery, and I was discouraged. The white women and men retreated to hide in a structure that surrounded them for protection while my people had only the trees and hills for their protection. There was no great battle but many noises from the white men, cruses and shouts that sounded much greater than their number. My people moved around the structure and the sounds grew louder, but there was no battle as my people were only looking for a home and passed by this pleasant place.

When I awoke I led my people as I had seen from the eagle, and it happened as I was shown. But I prayed that this place of conflict could be our home and not a place of hiding, but it was not so.

At Des Moines in the land of Iowa, just before his death, Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak said:

This is the last moon I will see, and the Great Spirit made me to see the land that was once the home of my people. I was a brave Chief, but the white man had taken our home. The few women that are alive are crying, and our few children are weak with hunger. Many were killed by the white soldiers or chased into the great river as they escaped. I surrendered not to spare my own life, but to preserve the lives of my people. We were fearful for our weak, and a brave Chief must act not as his pride demands, but in compassion.

I dreamed and the eagle showed me the island of my birth, my father the brave Chief of my people, my mother and her kindness to me. I was shown the land we returned to and hoped to plant corn. I saw the river of apple fruits and good soil and my heart sank as I hoped this would be our home, but we were feared without cause and fled to escape. And when I awoke from my dream I was crying which surprised those with me, and they asked if a great warrior should cry or was my age the reason. I said that I was not crying for myself, but for my people who were driven from our home and starved and the season had become one of tears and bravery. I tried to save my people and the Great Spirit who shows the Chiefs the seasons stopped my plans.

But I did not tell them about the following season, about the season I asked my own father of, the season that eagle would show to the child who would lead my people. And I went to be with my father and my fathers and dreamed a dream with the eagle that did not end.