Past Event

Black Hawk's Band: A Native View of Illinois History

A Road Scholar Program by Brian [Fox] Ellis

Imagine sitting around a campfire with Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kiuk-kiuk – Black Hawk – listening to the stories of creation and the legends of his grandfathers.

Storyteller and historian Brian “Fox” Ellis begins the presentation by describing his own family’s connection to the Trail of Tears and the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from their ancestral homeland. Drawing upon Fox’s deep knowledge of Native American history and admiration for his ancestors’ resilience, this story builds a bridge by which the audience begins a journey into those dark days in American history, incorporating humor as well as insight. The audience then travels down the path through time to an encounter with Black Hawk’s Band on the eve of a battle of the Black Hawk War.

Most of the content of this presentation is drawn directly from Black Hawk’s Autobiography. Fox portrays the reporter who transcribed and published Black Hawk’s life story. Weaving history with folklore to create a tapestry of symbolic language, he draws the audience into the worldview of this respected leader of his people.

The presentation includes traditional chants and drumming songs, as well as opportunities for the audience to participate in a few social dances, celebrate the First Nations of Illinois, and see the world through Native eyes.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact John Langley at