Mark Vogel

American Literature

Journal Entry #1

November 7, 2010

The piece of literature I decided to write my first journal entry was onBlack Hawk’s autobiography. It speaks about when the area his tribe lived in was taken from them from the white people and kicked them out. This lead to Black Hawk attempting to return to his lands, but was forced away.
I wanted to look at this and develop this writing on how the Indians could have possibly felt. One of the main things I thought of is the complete disregard of their existence completely in all decision making. The settlers landed there and the land was already inhabited, but this did not seem to prevent this from making this new land (which turns out was not so new considering it was already inhabited, yet another oversight of the Indians) their own. Land changed hands many times, from the English, to French, to Spanish, yet in all of this the Indians had no say and were never taken into consideration that maybe this land belonged to them. It is like if someone else came into your home, sold it, forced you out, and take all the money they earned from the house.
Another aspect I wanted to mention is the fact of how the Indians are depicted and taught in school through high school. They are ALWAYS depicted as savages who wanted nothing of peace and were completely uncivilized. In reality, this was completely false. The Indians attempted at peace, and wanted peace. “We started immediately, that we might smoke the peace-pipe with him.” I feel that this was a very dark mark on the history of America, but it should not be covered up and justified the way it is being taught in schools.
The last point i wanted to make out if this autobiography is the innocence of the Indians and how they were similar to the white people. The Indians were completely taken advantage of. There was no respect or regards to the Indians or their well-being. They were told nothing of the “treaty” they were signing other than that they thought it would bring peace, when really it was a declaration of the abuse against the Indians. “Here for the first time, I touched the goose quill to the treaty--not knowing, however, that, by that act, I consented to give away my village.” The passage also shows how when the Indians tried to explain to the whites, in the same manner the whites would explain to them, that they were lied to, the wights get outraged and threaten war. “Wish to explain to them that they had told a lie, without making them angry; in the same manner the whites do.”
I somewhat incorporated my personal reflection in with the writing above, but mainly i can not believe the way this whole incident is being taught in schools to make it look like it was this noble victory over a savage people, when in fact it was the annihilation of almost an entire race.