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For Black Hawk, it’s been a good but hollow year

Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 10:03 a.m. CST

(MCT) — For a man who has been dead for 175 years, 2013 has turned into a pretty good year for Black Hawk.

The Sauk tribe leader was best known in life for leading his people during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

In death, his memory has been honored in multiple ways.

A stunning example is the 50-foot-tall concrete statue, created by sculptor Lorado Taft near Oregon in 1911, originally to pay tribute to all Native American people. However, “The Eternal Indian” became known as the Black Hawk statue, and that’s what people still call it.

Every so often, the statue needs to be repaired from the ravages of weather. Concrete, after all, tends to crack. The good news is that all money necessary for the 102-year-old monolith’s repairs – $625,000 – has been raised.

An architectural firm has been hired to examine the structure and have its report ready by the fall, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Next spring, repair work on the Black Hawk statue will begin.

When the work is done and the scaffolding has been removed, it should be quite a sight to behold.

Another stunning example of Black Hawk’s resurgence involves a certain National Hockey League team that has had a pretty good year itself.

When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in exciting, come-from-behind fashion, they captured the attention and admiration of millions of people.

The team’s name, which used to be the Black Hawks, also honors the Native American leader who once called Northern Illinois his home.

If he were alive today, the real Black Hawk might be surprised by all the fuss about a towering statue and a championship sports team.

His supreme wish was not to be a legend or a celebrity, but to retain the Northern Illinois region for his people.

This editorial first appeared in the Daily Gazette, Sterling, Ill.

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