Fox - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Fox society was split into two divisions whose lines crosscut clan and lineage divisions. The two divisions were represented by the colors white and black and organized the people for games, ceremonies, dances, and warfare. The firstborn child of a couple was assigned to the division to which the father did not belong, and subsequent Children were assigned to alternate divisions according to their order of birth. Numerous permanent and temporary voluntary associations existed for raiding, ritual, and other purposes.

Political Organization. Politically, Fox society was Divided into peace and war organizations, each with its own chief and subordinate officeholders. The peace chief had Little authority and functioned primarily as a moderator; he was selected for the position from a specific lineage which Controlled rights to the office by a tribal council. During times of war and other threatening periods, the war chief and the war organization held considerable power. For the war chief, this stemmed from his control over the camp police, an organization of warriors that enforced decisions made by the tribal council. In the early nineteenth century, the war chief acquired office through successful leadership in warfare. At an earlier time, however, clan affiliation may have been an important factor in access to the office. Membership in the Tribal council was controlled by a specific lineage and its Responsibilities included issues such as peace and war, relations with other tribes, and the selection of winter hunting grounds. Today, an elected tribal council of seven members meets monthly to manage tribal affairs.

Social Control and Conflict. In addition to enforcing the decisions of the tribal council, the camp police regulated Tribal movements and patrolled the campgrounds during bison hunts. Their unquestioned right to destroy the property of anyone who disobeyed them enabled the camp police to function effectively as a mechanism of social control. Currently, tension exists between the traditional and progressive factions who disagree about the extent to which the tribe should follow White economic and political practices.

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