Brian "Fox" Ellis presents “Black Hawk's View of American History" at the LeClaire Community Library -- November 16.

Thursday, November 16, 6 p.m.

LeClaire Community Library, 323 Wisconsin Street, LeClaire IA

Employing his personal story and a deep knowledge of Native history, storyteller and historian Brian “Fox” Ellis will share how his family avoided the Trail of Tears and the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation in Black Hawk's View of American History, the November 16 LeClaire Community Library program that will transport attendees back into those dark days of American history with both humor and genuine insight.

Black Hawk, born Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (1767-1838), was a Sauk leader and warrior who lived in what is now the Midwest. Although he had inherited an important historic sacred 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 then a band of Sauk warriors during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

During the War of 1812, Black Hawk fought on the side of the British against the United States in the hope of pushing white American settlers away from Sauk territory. Later, he led a band of Sauk and Fox warriors, known as the British Band, against white settlers in Illinois and present-day Wisconsin during the 1832 Black Hawk War. After the war, he was captured by U.S. forces and taken to the Eastern U.S., where he and other war leaders were taken on a 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. 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, and he has been honored by an enduring legacy, his book, many eponyms, and other tributes.

The presenter of Black Hawk's View of American History, Brian “Fox” Ellis is part Cherokee and has studied with native Elders from several tribes. He has performed at Powwows and Native Gatherings across Turtle Island. In recent years, he was invited to perform at the Apple River Fort for their commemoration of the Black Hawk War and for a group of Sauk and Fox Elders at the Black Hawk Museum in Rock Island. He has presented at the Trail of Tears Museum in the foothills of The Smokey Mountains and at the Assiniboine Reservation for a conference on Seeing the Prairie Through Native Eyes. His programs give voice to the Native American view of American history, including much that is left out of history books.

Brian “Fox” Ellis presents Black Hawk's View of American History at the LeClaire Community Library on November 16, participation in the 6 p.m. program is free, and more information is available by calling (563)289-6007 and visiting

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