- A Sauk Indian leader, born on the Rock River in Illinois, around 1770.
His mother was said to have been French. Keokuk, whose name meant
"Watchful Fox," was not a chief by birth, but rose to that position through
skillful leadership, force of character and brilliant oratory.
He was one of the few Indians more honored
by Americans for his wisdom and gift of speech than for his fighting ability.
During the War of 1812, when Chief Black
Hawk with part of the Sauk and Fox
joined the British against the Americans, Keokuk and his followers remained
loyal to the Government, but did not fight in its support. he wanted
to be a leader in peace and not in war, and refused to take part in the
Black Hawk War of 1832.
Keokuk won his greatest fame in a debate
in Washington with leaders of the Sioux and other tribes, before Government
officials, when he established the claim of the Sauk and Fox to that territory
which is now known as the state of Iowa.
he died in Kansas in 1848. In 1883
his bones were removed to Keokuk, Iowa, where they were reburied, and a
monument was erected to his memory. later a bronze bust of Keokuk
was placed in the marble room of the United States Senate, and a likeness
of him was printed on an issue od paper money.
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