Sauk Indian Tribe
Sauk. From Osā'kiwŭg,
meaning "people of the outlet, or people of the yellow earth."
Satoeronnon, Huron name.
Quatokeronon, Huron name.
Za'-ke, Santee and Yankton Dakota name.
The Sauk belonged to the Algonquian
linguistic stock and the same subdivision as that
embracing the Foxes and Kickapoo.
On the upper part of Green Bay and
lower course of Fox River. (See also
The earliest known home of the Sauk was about Saginaw Bay,
Mich., which still bears their name. Shortly before appearance of the Whites
they were expelled from this country by the Ottawa and the Neutral Nation, and
settled in the region above indicated where they remained for a considerable
period. In (1796) found their chief villages on Wisconsin River. After the
destruction of the Illinois they extended their territories over the Rock River
district of northwestern Illinois. In 1804 a band of Sauk wintering near
St. Louis were induced to enter into a treaty ceding to the United States
Government the Sauk territories in Illinois and Wisconsin, but this transaction
created so much indignation among the rest of the tribe when it became known
that the band who made treaty never returned to the rest and they have received
independent recognition as the Missouri River Sauk. As the rest of the Sauk
refused to move, other negotiations were entered into which were broken off in
1832 by the Indian outbreak known as the Black Hawk War. As a result of this
struggle, the Sauk abandoned their country east of the Mississippi and sought
refuge with the Foxes, already established in Iowa. In 1842 the Sauk, with the
Foxes, ceded their lands in Iowa also in exchange for a tract in Kansas. About
1857-59, in the absence of the Foxes, the Sauk agreed to take up land in
severalty and cede the remainder of this Kansas territory, and the Foxes, when
they learned of this, returned to Iowa. In 1867 the Sauk ceded their lands in
Kansas and removed to the Indian territory, and in 1889 they took up land in
severalty and sold their surplus territories to the government.
Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 3,500 Sauk in 1650.
The principal early estimates of the Sauk are: in 1736, 750 persons; in 1759,
1,000; in 1766, 2,000; in 1783, 2,250; in 1810, 2,850; in 1825, 4,800; in 1834,
2,500. Michelson (1919) states, however, that the best was that of Lewis and
Clark, which would make them about 2,000 in 1805. In 1885 there were 457 in
Indian Territory, including a few Foxes, and 87 in southeastern Nebraska. The
Indian Office Report for 1909 gives 536 (chiefly Sauk) in Oklahoma, and 87
(chiefly Sauk) in Kansas. The census of 1910 gives 347 in Oklahoma and 69 in
Kansas, Sauk and Fox not being discriminated. It also records a number of
individuals of both tribes scattered over nine other States. In 1923 the United
States Report on Indian Affairs gave 673 in Oklahoma, and 93 in Kansas; total
766. The census of 1930 returned 887 Sauk and Fox, rather more than two-thirds
being Sauk. In 1937 the United States Indian Office reported 126 "Sac and Fox"
in Kansas and 861 in Oklahoma, principally Sauk.
Connection in which they have become noted
Whatever prominence the Sauk have attained they owed almost
entirely to the war which, under Black Hawk, they sustained against the Whites.
Their name is perpetuated in Sauk River, Minn.; Sauk County, Wis.; and places in
these two States. In the form Sac, it has been applied to a county and its
capital in Iowa, a river in Missouri, and a small place in Tennessee. There is a
post village called Sauk in Skagit County, Wash.; a Sauk City in Sauk County,
Wis.; a Saukville in Ozaukee County in the same State; Sauk Rapids in Benton
County, Minn.; and in the same State but in Stearns County, Sauk Centre which
has a reputation all its own.
Notes About the Book:
Source: The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton, 1953, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin 145, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC.
Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr'd. Minimal editing
has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual