A seminal work in Native American literature, Black Hawk’s autobiography offers an eyewitness account of the escalating hostilities between Indigenous peoples and the encroaching white settlers of the early to mid-nineteenth century. After making a name for himself as a war captain for the Sauk, Black Hawk played an important role in resisting American attempts at territory expansion—especially those related to the disputed Treaty of Saint Louis—and aided British forces in military efforts against the United States throughout the War of 1812. That conflict didn’t resolve the underlying questions about treaties and lands, and Black Hawk took another important stand against injustice in 1832, when he led members of several allied tribes across the Mississippi River to Illinois. The subsequent Black Hawk War was ultimately the last war fought by Native Americans on the eastern side of the Mississippi.
This work, the first Native American autobiography published in the United States, was a bestseller in its day. It still offers a courageous and essential perspective on America at a turning point in its history.
Revised edition: Previously published as Autobiography of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, this edition of Autobiography of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, or Black Hawk (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.