biographical name \ˈkē-ə-ˌkək\

Definition of KEOKUK

1780?–1848 Kiyo'kaga Sauk & Fox tribal leader


biographical name    (Concise Encyclopedia)

(born 1790?, along Rock River [near present-day Rock Island, Ill., U.S.]—died 1848?, [in present-day Franklin county, Kan.]) Sauk Indian orator and politician. He engaged in a lifelong struggle for power with rival leader Black Hawk, who advocated resistance to white settlement on tribal lands. Keokuk instead urged accommodation and concession. Many Indians, witnessing the showering of gifts and honours on Keokuk by U.S. Indian agents and military leaders, turned to him for leadership. In 1832 Black Hawk led a short-lived resistance effort against white encroachments; Keokuk counseled peace and surrender, and he even provided advance warning to the U.S. of Black Hawk's intentions. For this assistance, the U.S. government named Keokuk leader of the Sauk nation in 1837. Keokuk responded by ceding the Illinois lands of his tribe and moving his people to Iowa. He continued to give away tribal land until his people were forced to settle on a reservation in Kansas, where he died in disgrace, despite the wealth and power he had accumulated.


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