Quick Tidbit 24

A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, ‘I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, violent one, the other wolf is the loving compassionate one.’ The grandson asked him, ‘Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?’ The grandfather answered, ‘The one I feed.’

-Black Hawk


About the Author:

Black Hawk, born Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, (1767 – October 3, 1838) was a band leader and warrior of the Sauk American Indian tribe in what is now the Midwest of the United States. Although he had inherited an important historic medicine bundle from his father, he was not a hereditary civil chief. Black Hawk earned his status as a war chief or captain by his actions: leading raiding and war parties as a young man, and a band of Sauk warriors during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

During the War of 1812, Black Hawk had fought on the side of the British against the U.S., hoping to push white American settlers away from Sauk territory. Later he led a band of Sauk and Fox warriors, known as the British Band, against European-American settlers in Illinois and present-day Wisconsin in the 1832 Black Hawk War. After the war, he was captured by U.S. forces and taken to the eastern U.S. He and other war leaders were taken on tour of several cities.

Shortly before being released from custody, Black Hawk told his story to an interpreter; aided also by a newspaper reporter, he published Autobiography of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, or Black Hawk, Embracing the Traditions of his Nation… in 1833 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first Native American autobiography to be published in the U.S., his book became an immediate bestseller and has gone through several editions. Black Hawk died in 1838 (at age 70 or 71) in what is now southeastern Iowa. He has been honored by an enduring legacy: his book, many eponyms, and other tributes.

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