Sac and Fox
From the earliest days of America, the Sac and Fox were
nearly always mentioned together. Their Algonquian language was nearly
identical, and they were probably of common origin.
The Sac (also Sauk) called themselves Asakiwaki, meaning "people of the
yellow earth" while the Fox called themselves Meskwaki meaning "people of
the red earth".
the country east of Lake Huron they were driven by wars with the French and
with hostile tribes, to Wisconsin, where they settled at the confluence of
Wolf and Fox Rivers. Again driven by the French, they settled on the Upper
Wisconsin in 1761, numbering about 700 warriors. During the American
Revolution, they were the firm friends of the English.
After several wars with the Illinois, Missouri, and
the Sac expanded southward. By 1800 they controlled the upper Mississippi
and Dubuque, Iowa.
treaty was held at St. Louis, Missouri on
November 3, 1804, between the united tribes of Sac and Fox and the United
States, with William Henry Harrison being Acting Commissioner on the part of
Chief Keokuk: Chief of the Sacs and Foxes,
Charles Bird King, 1837
By the provisions of this treaty, the chiefs and head men of the
tribes ceded to the United States, a large tract on both sides of the
Mississippi River, including on the east lands in
Wisconsin, and on the west a portion of Iowa and
from the mouth of the Gasconade River northward. However, disagreements over
accepting the treaty caused one Sac group to separate from the others and move
south to the Missouri River. Known as the
Band, they remained there until 1824 when they were removed to the northwest
corner of the state.
September 13-14, 1815, another treaty was held at Portage des Sioux (St. Charles
with the Sac and Fox then residing in Missouri, who
confirmed, for their portion of the tribe, the treaty of 1804.
13, 1816, a treaty was held with the Rock River Sac and Fox at
also confirming the treaty of 1804. This treaty was signed by Chief Black Hawk,
known as 'Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak' by his people. At the time the Black Hawk War broke out
in 1832, the chief affirmed that, although
he himself had "touched the quill" to this treaty, he was deceived by the agent,
and knew not what he was signing, and that the treaty of 1804 was made by
persons who had neither authority in the nation nor power to dispose of its
August 4, 1824, the Sac and Fox of Missouri
ceded to the United States all the land "lying and being between the
Mississippi and Missouri
Rivers, and a line running from the Missouri River, at the entrance of the
Kansas River, north 100 miles to northwest corner of the State of
from there, east to the Mississippi River." For this cession each tribe
received $1,000, and $500 in annuities for ten years.
In 1831, settlers began to occupy the
village of Saukenuk (later becoming Rock Island, Illinois). Keokuk,
the principal chief of the Fox, soon moved from
the west side of the Mississippi River, settling in southeast Iowa, followed by
a large part of the two tribes, but Chief Black Hawk and his band refused to leave
their village at Rock Island,
contending that they had never sold their town. Early in 1832, a sizeable force
of U.S. Soldiers and Illinois militiamen, arrived in the area, forcing Black
Hawk to withdraw to the west side of the Mississippi River. However, on April 5,
he led them back to the disputed territory after thinking he would get support
from other Indian forces and British to the north.
Chief Black Hawk by W. Greenough, 1838
The Black Hawk War started on April
6, when soldiers caught up with him near Rock River in northern Illinois.
Although Black Hawk tried to surrender, one of his truce bearers was killed, and
in the confusion the war began. The 15 week war would result in an estimated 70
settlers and soldiers, and up to 592 Native American deaths. On August 2,
during the Battle of Bad Ax, in Vernon County, Wisconsin,
Black Hawk and his forces were routed by United States troops under Colonel
Zachary Taylor, and Illinois volunteers under Colonel Henry Dodge. Black Hawk
was captured and the war ended. As a consequence of the war, the Sak were forced to surrender a
large part of eastern Iowa by a treaty of July 15, 1830.
and Missouri Sac
and Fox were assigned, by treaty of September 17, 1836, "the small strip of land
on the south side of the Missouri River, lying between the
Kickapoo northern boundary line and the Grand
Nemahaw River, and extending from the Missouri River back and westwardly with
the Kickapoo line and the Grand Nemahaw
River. The 400 sections were to be divided between the Ioway and
and Fox; the upper half to the Ioway, the lower half to the Sac and Fox."
tract was partly in what is now Doniphan County, Kansas,
and partly in Nebraska; the reservation of the Sac and Fox being in Kansas.
Some Sac and Fox remained in Iowa until 1842 when they ceded their lands for a reserve in
just south of present-day Topeka. However, many of them refused to leave Iowa.
Once in Kansas,
major disagreements developed between the Sac and Fox, and some of the Fox
moved in with the Kickapoo tribe, but later
left them for northern Mexico.
On May 18, 1854, the Kansas
reservation was ceded to the United States, with the exception of 50 sections,
of 640 acres each, in the western part of the reservation. 1861, the reservation
was still further reduced in size. Despite the allotment, the Sac and Fox of Missouri retained a
small reservation in Kansas
and today their tribal headquarters located in Reserve, Kansas.
In the meantime, many of the Fox had left
and returned to Iowa where they purchased land near Tama. In 1869, the remaining
Sac and Fox sold their Kansas
land and relocated to
on a reservation in Potawatomi, Lincoln, and Payne Counties east of Oklahoma
City. After allotment, most of this was released to whites in 1891.
there are three federally recognized Sac and Fox tribes:
and Fox Nation in Oklahoma - Comprised of nearly 3,500 people, the tribe
continues to have a jurisdictional area in parts of Lincoln, Payne, and
Pottawatomie Counties, with almost 1,000 acres. it operates its own housing
authority in Shawnee,
as well as two casinos and more than a dozen smoke shops.
Sac & Fox Nation
Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa - This group, who prefer to be
returned to their Iowa Lands and using their own money to purchase land, their
tribal holdings have grown to almost to more than 7,000 acres.
The only federally recognized tribe in Iowa, they have about 1,300 members, many
of whom live at the Mesquaki settlement near Tama, Iowa.
Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska - Located in
southeastern Richardson County, Nebraska and northeastern Brown County, Kansas,
the tribe has some 400 members. They operate a casino in Powhattan, Kansas
and their tribal headquarters are located in Reserve, Kansas.
Sac & Fox Headquarters
Route 1, Box 60
Compiled and edited by
of Kansas, 2010, updated March, 2017.
Also See: Native American Legends (Legends of America)
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