The Sauk Indians were also known as the Sac, and they are so closely associated with the Fox Indians that they are often grouped together as a single unit. Both the Sauk and Fox had very similar cultures, and they have been very closely allied to each other at certain times in history. Both tribes are in the Algonquian language family, and the name Sauk is a shortened version of the word Osakiwug, which means "men of the yellow ground." The Sauk originated in the northeastern US, primarily in the Michigan area.
In terms of politics, the Sauk Indians divided into clans named after animals like bears, beavers and deer. There were three leaders in each group governing different aspects of life, including a clan chief, a family chief, and a war chief. The method used to select different kinds of chiefs varied, but only family chiefs were born into their duties.
Sauk Indian culture dictated that women were generally in charge of every aspect of family life, while the men were in charge of war and hunting. Both the Sauk indians and Fox tribes had a reputation for individualism and an unwillingness to compromise. They were also considered warlike, although that hasn't always been the case. Both tribes had conflicts with the French, and they eventually fought a war against the US.
In historical terms, the Sauk Indians lived a semi-settled lifestyle. They stayed in villages during the farming season. Once all the crops had been harvested, the Sauk traveled into the forest and built lodges in their winter hunting territories. The lodges were bark-covered structures with rounded roofs. The elderly and infirm stayed in town, and a food supply was left behind to sustain them through the winter.
During the mid-1800s, the Fox and Sauk Indians formed an alliance under a chief named Black Hawk. They grouped up in order to fight a war against the US government over territory. Both tribes had already suffered great losses due to European-borne disease, and the war did not go well for them. By the time the fighting was over, their populations had been decimated even further.
After the war, some Sauk traveled to Oklahoma, but many were forced to move to Iowa. Later, they sold their land in Iowa and traveled to Kansas, but a large number of them eventually returned. There are Sauk populations of varying sizes in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.