The tribes extended their territory westward beyond the Mississippi. Sauk chiefs included Keokuk, Wapello and the famous Black Hawk, leader of the 1832 Black Hawk War.
Picture of the Fox Native Indian Chief - Kee-o-kuk
The above picture depicts Pam-a-ho, meaning the Swimmer, who was one of Chief Black Hawk's Warriors. It was painted by the famous artist George Catlin (1796-1872) at Jefferson Barracks in 1832 where Black Hawk and his warriors were imprisoned following the Black Hawk War, the last of the Indian wars that took place in the Old Northwest Territory. Pam-a-ho's hair is shaved leaving a scalp lock to which a roach headdress was attached. The roach headdress stood straight up from his head like a crest and held open by comb-like object called a roach-spreader. The roach headdress was dyed red, the same color as his body paint. Black Hawk and his fellow captives such as Pam-a-ho and were presented to different nations in the United States and in Europe.
What language did the Sauk tribe speak?
The Fox tribe spoke in a related dialect of the Algonquian language. The name 'Sauk' derives from the Algonquian word, 'Osakiwug' meaning the "Yellow Earth People", in reference to their creation myth.
What was the lifestyle and culture of the Sauk tribe?
The Sauk (Sac) tribe were farmers, hunter-gatherers and fishermen who made good use of their lightweight birchbark canoes they used on hunting, trading and fishing trips. Originally living along the western Great Lakes, they extended their lands into Wisconsin and the biggest Sauk villages were on the Wisconsin River. They extended their territories further west where they hunted buffalo. Their neighbours were the Fox tribe who were defeated by the French during the Fox Wars (1712 - 1733). The Fox then joined the larger Sauk tribe, an association that led to a long standing alliance. Both the Sauk and the Fox (Meskwaki) people had a strong sense of tribal identity and each tribe retained their separate chiefs, customs and traditions. The Sauk maintained good relations with the French until the Fox Wars and also traded with the Dutch and the English. The Sauk left their central Michigan location for northern Wisconsin after tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy attacked the people in the mid-seventeenth century. The Sauk became allies with the British during the French and Indian wars (1689 - 1763). The Fox tribe relocated south from Wisconsin into Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. Following the American War of Independence an alliance of many different tribes, called the Western Confederacy, was formed who aimed to keep the Ohio River as a boundary between Native Indian lands and the United States. The Sauk subsequently fought in Little Turtles War (17851795), Tecumseh's War (18111813) and the 1832 Black Hawk War. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 resulted in the Sauk tribe being moved to reservations in Indian territory.
Facts about the Sauk Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Sauk Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Sauk tribe live, what clothes did they wear and what food did they eat? Discover what happened to the Sauk tribe with facts about their wars and history with the Sauk History Timeline.
Where did the Sauk tribe live?
The Sauk are people of the Northeast Woodland Native American cultural group. The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Sauk tribe.
- The Northeast Woodland region extended mainly across the New England States, lower Canada, west to Minnesota, and north of the Ohio River
- Land: Lush woodlands, rivers, ocean
- Climate: The climate varied according to the location of the tribe
- Land Animals: The animals included squirrel, muskrat, white-tailed deer, raccoon, bears, beavers, moose, and caribou
- Fish: Fish and shell fish
- Crops: The crops grown in the area were corn (maize), pumpkin, squash, beans and tobacco
- Trees: Poplar, birch, elm, maple, oak, pine, fir trees and spruce
What clothes did the Sauk tribe wear?
The picture of the Sauk brave like all warriors, wore war paint to intimidate his enemies. He wears a necklace of bear claws and another of beads and shells. His buckskin clothing is decorated with his battle trophies in the form of small scalp locks taken from his enemies - refer to practise of Taking Scalps in Indian Warfare. His breech cloth is passed between his legs and attached to a cordage belt. Also attached to his belt is soft pouch made from deerskin. He wears buckskin leggings and moccasins. His elaborate shield would have been used during horseback warfare and he carries a gunstock club that would have been used in hand-to-hand combat.