Sac & Fox Nation
The indigenous homelands of the Sac and Fox Nation were in the western Great Lakes region. "Sac and Fox" is actually a historical accident, a merging of "Sac" (Sauk), or Thakiwaki, and "Fox," or Meskwaki misapplied by the U.S. government during treaty negotiations in 1804. Although historically associated and closely related by language and culture, the two people have always remained geographically and politically distinct.
The Meskwaki have resided on the Meskwaki Settlement in central Iowa since 1856, and the Thakiwaki have been in central Oklahoma since the 1870s. The contemporary Sac and Fox population in Oklahoma claim to be predominantly of Thakiwaki decent and typically refer to themselves as both "Sac and Fox" and Sauk, and to their heritage language as Sau.
At the time of European contact, the Thakiwaki resided in the Saginaw Valley near Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron and Green Bay of Lake Michigan on the east-central peninsula of what is now the state of Michigan. They were moved from their indigenous lands through a series of armed conflicts and treaties, residing for a time in Illinois (1764 to 1830), briefly in Iowa (1831 to 1846) and in Kansas (1847 to 1867), prior to being removed to the Indian Territory in the 1870s.
During their time in Illinois, the principal Thakiwaki settlement was situated a short distance above the confluence of the Mississippi and Rock rivers. The most notable armed conflict involving the Thakiwaki is perhaps the three-month Black Hawk Conflict of 1832, which entailed an extended series of skirmishes between U.S. infantrymen as Black Hawk and a band of 1,000 Indians that included 500 warriors utilized diversionary military tactics to protect the women, children and elders with him.
Although Black Hawk survived, the skirmishes ended tragically with the slaughter of unarmed Thakiwaki crossing the Mississippi River. Afterward, only 150 to 200 of the original 1,000 warriors rejoined their companions on the Iowa side of the river. Some Thakiwaki call the Black Hawk Conflict a historical example of an enduring spirit of resistance to Euro-American encroachment and resettlement east of the Mississippi River. The Sac and Fox Nation hold numerous social events celebrating their culture and heritage including an annual powwow held in July on tribal grounds, numerous benefit and honor dances, veterans' events, banquets, holiday celebrations and the occasional rodeo.