Sac and Fox Tribes
Kansas Native Americans

In the early Jesuit relations, the Sacs and Foxes were nearly always mentioned together. Their language was identical, and they were probably of common origin. From 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 seven hundred warriors. During the war of the Revolution, they were the firm friends of the English.


A treaty was held at St. Louis, November 3, 1804, between the united tribes of Sacs and Foxes and the United States, William Henry Harrison being Acting Commissioner on the part of the Government. 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, including on the east lands in Illinois and Wisconsin, and on the west a portion of Iowa and Missouri, from the mouth of the Gasconade northward. On September 13 and 14, 1815, another treaty was held at Portage des Sioux (now a village in St. Charles County, Mo.), with the Sacs and Foxes then residing in Missouri, who then confirmed, for their portion of the tribe, the treaty of 1804.

On May 13, 1816, a treaty was held with the Rock River Sacs and Foxes at St. Louis, also confirming the treaty of 1804. To this treaty Black Hawk's name is signed. At the time of the breaking-out of the Black Hawk war, that 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 lands.

August 4, 1824, the Sacs and Foxes 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, at the entrance of the Kansas River, north 100 miles to northwest corner of the State of Missouri, and from thence east to the Mississippi." For this cession each tribe received $1,000, and $500 in annuities for ten years. By treaty of July 15, 1830, the Rock River Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States "a tract of country twenty miles in width, from the Mississippi to the Des Moines."

Keokuk, the principal chief of the Foxes, soon removed to the west side of the Mississippi, followed by a large part of the two tribes, but Black Sparrow Hawk and his band refused to leave their village at Rock Island, contending that they had never sold their town. The Black Hawk war followed in 1831-32, ending with the battle of Bad Ax, in Vernon County, Wis., in which Black Hawk and his forces were routed by United States troops under Col. Zachary Taylor, and Illinois volunteers under Col. Henry Dodge. Black Hawk was captured and the war ended.

The Iowas and Missouri Sacs and Foxes 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 back and westwardly with the said Kickapoo line and the Grand Nemahaw, making 400 sections, to be divided between the said Iowas and Missouri Sacs and Foxes; the upper half to the Iowas, the lower half to the Sacs and Foxes." This tract was partly in what is now Doniphan County, Kansas, and partly in Nebraska; the reservation of the Sacs and Foxes being in Kansas.

On the 18th of May, 1854, this reservation was all ceded to the United States, with the exception of fifty sections, of 640 acres each, "to be selected in one body in the western part of the cession made." In 1861, the reservation was still further reduced in size.

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