Summary of Native American Tribes – S

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Sac – Their own name, Osakiwug, means “people of the yellow earth. They were one of a number of Algonquian tribes whose earliest known location was on the Michigan peninsula, the other tribes being the Potawatomi, Mascouten, and the Fox. The Sac, along with these other tribes were first known to Europeans under the general term “Gens de Feu,” first recorded by French navigators, Samuel de Champlain and Gabriel Sagard. Before they  became known as an independent tribe, they also formed a part a Algonquian community which was called the Huron by the French. They were first mentioned independently Father Jean Claude Allouez in 1640 under the generic Huron name Hvattoehronon, meaning “People of the sunset.”

Father Allouez, a Jesuit missionary, would later write in 1667, that the Sac were more savage than all the other peoples he had met and they were a populous tribe, although they had no fixed dwelling place, being wanderers.

He was also told that if the Sac or Fox found a person in an isolated place they would kill him, especially if he were a Frenchman, for they could not endure the sight of the whiskers of the Europeans. Yet, two years later, he reported that the first place in which he began to give religious instruction was in a village of the “Ousaki,” situated at the DePere Rapids, Wisconsin, wherein he found several tribes in winter quarters, number about 600 people.

For years, the Sac, along with the other nations of the “Gens de Feu,” were at war with the Neuter and Ottawa tribes, and were finally driven out of the northern peninsula of Michigan, then settling around Green Bay and the Fox River of Wisconsin, as well as in northern Illinois. In the early 1800’s one group of Sac moved to Missouri, and later to Kansas and Nebraska. Another group moved to Iowa.

The Sac were estimated to be about 750 people in 1736 and about 2,500 in 1834. In 1869, the larger group of Sac moved into reservations in Oklahoma, where they merged with the Meskwaki as the federally recognized Sac and Fox Nation. A smaller number of Sac remained in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

Sac & Fox Iowa

Sac and Fox – The historic Sac and Fox were well represented by a large delegation of 33 from Oklahoma and a smaller party of 16 from the band now living in Iowa. These two tribes, calling themselves respectively, ‘Sagiwuk’ and ‘Muskwakiuk’, are practically one people, speaking closely related dialects of one language and having been confederated from a very early period. Currently the tribes, known now as the Sac and Fox Nations, are located in and Iowa.

The separate tribes of the Sac and Fox were always closely allied and speak a very similar Algonquian language. The Sac call themselves Asakiwaki (or Osakiwug) which means “people of the yellow earth” while the Fox call themselves Meskwaki meaning “people of the red earth”.

Sac & Fox Oklahoma

Both tribes were first discovered settled about Green Bay, Wisconsin, but their possessions extended westward, so that the larger part of them was beyond the Mississippi River. They partly subdued and admitted into their alliance the Iowa, a Dakota tribe.

By 1804 they had ceded all their lands east of the Mississippi River and settled on the Des Moines River in Iowa, moving subsequently to the Osage River in Missouri, and most of these finally, to the Indian Territory. In 1822 the united bands numbered about 8,000, but by the early 1800s, claimed only a little more than 1,000 people. Today, there are three federally recognized Sac and Fox tribes: the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska, and the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma.

Saconnet – A small tribe living near Sakonnet Point, Rhode Island who were connected with the Wampanoag or the Narraganset. Under the woman chief, Ashawonks, they took the side of the English in King Philip’s War of 1675 and later, their land was purchased by the whites settlers. In 1700, they numbered about 400; but in 1763, they were visited by an epidemic which considerably diminished their numbers, so that by 1803, they had dwindled to only about a dozen people, living near Compton.

Sahehwamish – Belonging to the coastal division of the Salisan linguistic stock, the lived in several bands on the innermost inlets of Puget Sound. They were estimated to have numbered about 1,200 in 1780, but had been reduced to about 780 by 1907.

Salinan Family – A linguistic stock of California, the lived along the Salinas River, in what is today, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and perhaps San Benito Counties. Little is known about them or their bands. Their language was very irregular and more complex than most languages of California. They appeared to have lived in houses of brush or grass. Not having canoes, the subsided more on hunting than fishing, supplemented with plant foods such as acorns and grass seed. The missions of San Antonio and San Miguel were established in Salinan territory in 1771 and 1797, where some 6,800 were baptized, though this number appears to have also included Yokut Indians. Like all the other tribes, the Salinan Indians decreased rapidly during mission times, the number, at each mission having fallen to fewer than 700 by 1831, and then even more rapidly. By the early 1900’s they numbered only about 20 people, living near Jolon, California.

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