Fox - History and Cultural Relations

In the mid to late seventeenth century the establishment of a French trading post at Green Bay drew the Fox to the Wolf River area. Almost from the start, tension and conflict characterized Fox-French relations. This stemmed in part from Fox opposition to the French extending the fur trade to their traditional enemies, the Dakota. In 1712, twenty-five years of continuous warfare were initiated when the Fox who had moved to Detroit and were presumed by the French post there to be planning an assault were attacked by a coalition of tribes organized and incited by the French commander. During this period the Fox were nearly wiped out by warfare and disease. In 1733 they took refuge with the Sauk at Green Bay and soon thereafter both tribes fled to Iowa. Shortly after the cessation of hostilities in 1737 the Fox returned to Wisconsin, but by the late eighteenth century they were living on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River.

Between 1832 and 1842, Fox and Sauk ceded their lands to the United States and moved to a reservation in Kansas. On the Kansas reservation, relations between the two groups were marked by tension, and between 1856 and 1859 the Fox returned to Iowa and settled near Tama. The federal government opposed this move, but was unsuccessful in returning them to Kansas.

The descendants of the Fox have maintained many elements of the traditional culture, including their language and clan-organized ritual activities. An important factor in this process has been tribal ownership of land and resistance to land allotment.

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