Relationships between the cultures had been spotty. Many of the tribes had sided with the British during the War of 1812. The treaty of 1804 had ceded lands to the United States and as the sales of those lands progressed tensions mounted. The "British Band," as the Indians were called, at first enjoyed success, crossing into Illinois and Wisconsin but eventually numbers won the day and the Tribes were rounded whipped at the Battle of Bad Axe. The war was used by many to spur the removal of tribes across the Mississippi. Oddly removal west of the Mississippi had been the issue that led to the war in the first place.
Black Hawk was among the leaders who escaped. He later surrendered and was imprisoned for a year. His autobiography was taken down by Antoinne LeClaire, and remains an historical and anthropological gem. Here is an example of Black Hawk remembering a courting ritual,
"Our women plant the corn, and as soon as they get done, we make a feast, and dance the crane dance, in which they join us, dressed in their best, and decorated with feathers. At this feast our young braves select the young woman they wish to have for a wife. He then informs his mother, who calls on the mother of the girl, when the arrangement is made, and the time appointed for him to come. He goes to the lodge when all are asleep, (or pretended to be.) lights his matches, which have ben provided for this purpose and soon finds where his intended sleeps. He then awakens her, and holds the light to his face so that she may know him- after which he places the light close to her. If she blows it out, the ceremony is ended, and he appears in the lodge the next morning, as one of the family. If she does not blow out the light, but leaves it to burn out, he retires from the lodge. The next day he places himself in full view of it, and plays his flute. The tune changes, to let them know he is not playing for them. When his intended makes her appearance at the door, he continues his courting tune, until she returns to the lodge. He then gives over playing, and makes another trial at night, which generally turns out to be favorable. During the first year they ascertain whether they can agree with each other, and ca be happy-if not, they part and each looks out again. If we were to live together and disagree, we should be as foolish as the whites! No indiscretion can banish a woman from her parental lodge- no difference how many children she may bring home, she is always welcome- the kettle is over the fire to feed them."