Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sac and Fox Tribe - MesQuaki

Sac & Fox Tribe in Iowa

The Sac and Fox tribes used to be separate tribes.  At some point they were combined into one tribe.  They are mainly now located in Iowa on a reservation.  The following is an internet site with a lot of links to information:


 A very good internet site for the history of the Sac and Fox Indians is as follows:


Initially the Sac and the Fox tribes were near the Waters of the St. Lawrence.  Before the Revolutionary War, the Fox tribe moved to the area near Lake Michigan. Due to wars with other Indian tribes and the French, both the Fox and the Sac tribes were reduced in number to such an extent that they could not survive separately.

To survive, the Sac and the Fox tribes joined forces and moved to Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Chief Keokuk, who represented the Fox and Sac, gave a lot of the land the tribes were living on to the United States government.  A young Fox and Sac leader named Black Hawk started a war with the United States government in protest.

Black Hawk War
A Native American, Black Hawk, of the Sauk tribe, did not approve of the Treaty of 1830.  In the spring of 1830, when Black Hawk and his followers returned from their hunt, they found white settlers occupying their village. Black Hawk had not sanctioned the sale of this land and was determined to regain the village. This was the instigation of the 1832 Black Hawk war.

Those of the Sauk who favored a call to arms turned to Black Hawk who became their leader. Black Hawk was of the Thunder clan (Black-big-chest). Thus the political union between the Sauk and the Foxes was broken. The fighting began before Black Hawk was ready, and he was forced to charge with only a small number of those on whose support he had depended. After a series of battles in northern Illinois and Wisconsin Black Hawk’s forces were finally defeated at the Battle of Bad Axe in present day Wisconsin.With his depleted forces he could not successfully contend against the Illinois militia and their Indian allies.

Final Treaty

Keokuk was also a leading figure for the native tribes during the negotiations to end the war which ceded six million acres of land in what is now the state of Iowa. Two areas were held back as special awards. One was these areas was a four hundred square mile strip surrounding the village of Keokuk was a reward for his neutrality during the conflict. The Sauk did not keep the land for long. In 1845 Keokuk and the Sauk were relocated to Kansas.

Recent History

The following is from the official site of the Sac and Fox Tribe (http://www.meskwaki.org/):
After the Black Hawk War of 1832, the United States offically combined the two tribes into a single group know as the Sac & Fox Confederacy for treaty-making purposes.  Then a series of land cessions under the name of "Sac & Fox", the Sauk and Meskwaki lost all lands and ultimately were removed to a reservation in east central Kansas in 1845.

But some Meskwaki remained hidden in Iowa with others coming back within a few years.  In 1856 the State of Iowa enacted a law allowing the Meskwaki to stay.  The U.S. government however tried to force the tribe back to the Kansas reservation by withholding treaty-right annuities.

In 1857 the Meskwaki purchased the first 80 acres in Tama County, Iowa.  Ten years later the U.S. finally began paying annuities to the Meskwaki in Iowa, an act which gave the Meskwaki a formal identity as the Sac and Fox of Iowa.  The jurisdictional status was unclear since the tribe then had formal federal recognition with eligibility for BIA services but also had a continuing relationship with the State of Iowa due to the tribe's private ownership of land which was held in trust by the governor.

For the next 30 years, the Meskwaki were virtually ignored by federal as well as state policies.  Subsequently, they lived a more independent lifestyle than other tribes confined to regular reservations which were strictly regimented by federal authority.  To Resolve this jurisidtional ambiguity, in 1896 the State of Iowa ceded to the Federal Government all jurisdiction over the Meskwaki.

Owing to the noble sacrifices and vision of ancestors, the Meskwaki still remain and even thrive.