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First People :: Words of Wisdom Index :: Black Hawk
 
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Black Hawk - Sauk

This is a happy season of the year - having plenty of provisions, such as beans, squashes, and other produce, with our dried meat and fish. We continue to make feasts and visit each other, until our corn is ripe.

At least one of the lodges in the village makes a feast daily for the Great Spirit. I cannot explain this so that the white people will comprehend me, because we have no regular standard among us. Everyone makes his feast as he thinks best, to please the Great Spirit, who has the care of all beings created.

Black Hawk - Sauk

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During the first year a newly married couple discovers whether they can agree with each other and can be happy - if not, they part, and look for other partners. If we were to live together and disagree, we should be as foolish as the whites.

No indiscretion can banish a woman from her parental lodge. It makes no difference how many children she may bring home; she is always welcome. The kettle is over the fire to feed them.

Black Hawk - Sauk

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How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong look like right.

Black Hawk

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We have men among us, like the whites, who pretend to know the right path, but will not consent to show it without pay! I have no faith in their paths, but believe that every man must make his own path!

Black Hawk - Sauk

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I think that wherever the Great Spirit places his people, they ought to be satisfied to remain, and thankful for what He has given them, and not drive others from the country He has given them because it happens to be better than theirs!

This is contrary to our way of thinking; and from my intercourse with the whites, I have learned that one great principle of their religion is "to do unto others as you wish them to do unto you!" The settlers on our frontiers and on our lands never seem to think of it, if we are to be judged by their reactions. For my part, I am of the opinion that so far as we have reason, we have the right to use it in determining what is right or wrong, and we should pursue that path we believe to be right.

If the Great and the Good Spirit wished us to believe and do as the whites, he could easily change our opinions, so that we would see, and think, and act as they do. We are nothing compare to His power, and feel and know it.

Black Hawk - Sauk

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My reason teaches me that land cannot be sold. The Great Spirit gave it to his children to live upon and cultivate as far as necessary for their subsistence, and so long as they occupy and cultivate it they have the right to the soil, but if they voluntarily leave it then any other people have the right to settle on it. Nothing can be sold, except things that can be carried away.

Black Hawk - Sauk

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Here, for the first time, I have touched the goose quill to the treaty - not knowing, however, that by that act I consented to give away my village! Had that been explained to me, I should have opposed it, and never would have signed their treaty, as my recent conduct has clearly proven.

What do we know of this manner of the laws and customs of the white people? They might buy our bodies for dissection, and we would touch the goose quill to confirm it, without knowing what we were doing. This was the case with myself and my people touching the goose quill for the first time. We can only judge what is proper and right by our standard of right and wrong, which differs widely from the whites, if I have been correctly informed. The whites, if I have been correctly informed. The whites may do bad for all their lives, and then, if they are sorry for it when they are about to die, all is well!

But with us it is different : We must continue throughout our lives to do what we conceive to be good. If we have corn and meat, and know of a family that has none, we divide with them. If we have more blankets than are sufficient, and others have not enough, we must give to them that want.

Black Hawk - Sauk

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The path to glory is rough, and many gloomy hours obscure it. May the Great Spirit shed light on your path, so that you may never experience the humility that the power of the American government has reduced me to. This is the wish of a man who, in his native forests, was once as proud and bold as yourself.

Black Hawk - Sauk

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