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Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma Sauk Language Department

Stroud, Oklahoma

imgThe Sac and Fox Nation are Algonquian speaking peoples originally from the northeastern woodlands region of North America. Like many Oklahoma tribes, their turbulent history includes numerous unjust land “cessions” and forced relocations caused by immigrants to America occupying their territories. During these forced migrations, the Sac and Fox Nation have been based in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and finally, Oklahoma.

Today there are three groups of Sac and Fox, each federally recognized with their own distinct sovereign tribal governments—the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi, based in Iowa; the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma; and the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri, located in Kansas and Nebraska.

There are only five remaining fluent speakers of Sauk, and all are over the age of 70. The Sauk Language Department is trying to change this with language classes for young children and an intensive Master Apprentice Project. The apprentices spend long hours with two first language Sauk speakers, striving to become proficient so that they in turn can become language masters for new apprentices, teach community-based and high school classes, and found a preschool immersion site for Sac and Fox Nation toddlers in the near future.

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Did You Know ...

The Sac and Fox people, originally two distinct groups, formed an alliance in the 18th century during an attack by the French. Today’s tribal citizens honor the distinctions between the Sac and Fox people and their unique languages, even as they honor their close alliance.

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