Kee-o-kúk, The Watchful Fox, Chief of the Tribe, 1835
Sac and Fox
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.
Keokuk was chief of the Sac and Fox, and his rivalry with the warrior Black Hawk exemplifies the divisions that developed within tribes as they struggled to retain sovereignty in the face of frontier settlement. Unlike Black Hawk, who fought U.S. expansion, Keokuk thought warfare with the United States fruitless and signed over land in Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Their differences, played out over decades, highlight the breakdown of tribal government.