In 1833, just as the Indians were being forcibly relocated, the poet William Cullen Bryant came to Illinois to visit his settler brother and published his famous poem "The Prairies." In his romantic view, it was the ordained will of God that the Indians must perish. (47)

Thus change the forms of being. Thus arise
Races of living things, glorious in strength,
And perish, as the quickening breath of God
Fills them, or is withdrawn.

And now that the land is empty, the new "civilized" era can begin:

The sound of that advancing multitude
Which soon shall fill these deserts.
From the ground
Comes up the laugh of children, the soft voice
Of maidens, and the sweet and solemn hymn
Of Sabbath worshippers. (48)

Dancing at Halftime (2002)
Carol Spindel