Fox Tribe

Fox Native Indian

This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Fox Native Indian Tribe of the Northeast woodland cultural group.

The Fox (Meskwaki) Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Fox (Meskwaki) tribe were a fierce, warlike people who originally inhabited territory in the western Great Lakes region and then in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Chief Kiala led the tribe in a series of conflicts against the French in the Fox Wars (1712 - 1733). The tribe was so feared that King Louis XV of France ordered the complete annihilation of the Fox people. In 1734, that the Fox (Meskwaki) joined in a lasting alliance with the neighboring Sauk (Sac) tribe and extended westward beyond the Mississippi.

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Picture of the Fox Native Indian Chief - Kee-o-kuk
The above picture depicts Kee-o-kuk, meaning  the Watchful Fox, who was a distinguished chief who was acknowledged leader of the Sacs and Foxes by General Scott. It was painted by the famous artist George Catlin (1796-1872) at the Sauk and Fox village in 1835.

What clothes did the Fox tribe wear?
The picture of Kee-o-kuk depicts the type of clothing worn by the Fox warriors, the hairstyle and headdress, their decorations and some of their weapons. His hair is shaved to leave a scalp lock that was attached to a roach headdress that stood straight up from the head like a crest. The roach headdress was made of a stiff, thin strip of animal hair placed over the top of the head held open by comb-like object called a roach-spreader. The roach headdress was dyed red, and decorated with a feather. The Fox chief, like all warriors, wore war paint to intimidate their enemies. He wears a necklace of bear claws and his ears are pierced. His decorated collar displays his battle trophies in the form of small scalp locks taken from his enemies - refer to practise of Taking Scalps in Indian Warfare. His breech cloth is passed between his legs and attached to a cordage belt. He wears buckskin leggings and moccasins and caries a warm buffalo robe or blanket. His elaborate shield would have been used during horseback warfare and he carries a tomahawk that would have been used in hand-to-hand combat.

What language did the Fox tribe speak?
The Fox tribe spoke in a related dialect of the Algonquian language. The people belonged to different clans, based mainly on animals. The early French explorers and traders mistook one of the clan names, 'Wagosh' meaning fox, for that of the entire tribe and began mistakenly referring to them as the "Renard" the French for Fox, and the English and Americans continued the error in their own language. The Fox called themselves the 'Meskwaki' meaning "red earth people" in reference to their creation myth. They were known to their enemies the Chippewa, and other Algonquian tribes, as 'Utugamig' meaning "people of the other shore".

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Fox tribe?
The Fox tribe were farmers, hunter-gatherers and fishermen who made excellent use of their swift, lightweight birchbark canoes. Originally living along the western Great Lakes they extended their lands into Wisconsin and further west where they hunted buffalo. The powerful Meskwaki tribe gained control of the Fox River system in eastern and central Wisconsin. which was vital for the colonial New France fur trade. The Fox tribe were the only Algonquin speaking people to fight a war with the French, who they regarded as staunch enemies due to trading disputes. The Fox also regarded the Chippewa French allies as their mortal enemies. The hostility between the Meskwaki and French erupted into a series of conflicts that became known as the Fox Wars (1712 - 1733) which were led by the Fox chief Chief Kiala. The violent conflict resulted in the lasting hatred of the French, who so feared the Fox tribe that King Louis XV of France ordered the complete destruction of the Meskwaki people. Their defeat in the Fox Wars led to the long standing alliance with the Sauk (Sac) tribe. Both the Fox and the Sauk people had a strong sense of tribal identity and each retained separate chiefs, customs and traditions. The Fox had three kinds of leader. The hereditary peace chief maintained peace within the tribe and was in charge at village council meetings. The ceremonial leader, or Shaman, was responsible for the spiritual well being of the people and for their religious ceremonies. The war chief was chosen for each military campaign based on his fighting skills and visions.

The Fox became allies with the British during the French and Indian wars (1689 - 1763). The Fox tribe relocated southward from Wisconsin into Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. Following the American Revolution an alliance of many different tribes, called the Western Confederacy, was formed who aimed to keep the Ohio River as a boundary between Native Indian lands and the United States. The Fox subsequently fought in Little Turtle’s War (1785–1795), Tecumseh's War (1811–1813) and the 1832 Black Hawk War. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 resulted in the Fox tribe being forcibly moved to reservations in Indian territory.

Facts about the Fox Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Fox Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Fox tribe live, what clothes did they wear and what food did they eat? Discover what happened to the Fox tribe with facts about their wars and history which are detailed in a history timeline.


Where did the Fox (Meskwaki) tribe live?
The Fox are people of the Northeast Woodland Native American cultural group. The location of their tribal homelands are shown on the map.  The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Fox tribe.

  • The Northeast Woodland region extended mainly across the New England States, lower Canada, west to Minnesota, and north of the Ohio River
  • Land: Lush woodlands, rivers, ocean
  • Climate: The climate varied according to the location of the tribe
  • Land Animals: The  animals included squirrel, white-tailed deer, raccoon, bears, beavers, moose, and caribou
  • Fish: Fish and shell fish
  • Crops: The crops grown in the area were corn (maize), pumpkin, squash, beans and tobacco
  • Trees: Poplar, birch, elm, maple, oak, pine, fir trees and spruce

Map showing Northeast Woodland location - Fox tribe

Map showing location of the Northeast or
Eastern Woodland Indians Cultural Group
and the Fox (Meskwaki) tribe


Susquehannock village of longhouses


What did the Fox tribe live in?
The Fox tribe lived in two different shelters, the longhouse and the wigwam, a temporary shelter that was used by Algonquian speaking Native Indian tribes who lived in the woodland regions. The Fox Longhouses were built from birch bark. The  dark, windowless Longhouses had a rounded roof and doors at both ends and a smoke hole in the roof to let in air and light.

Fox Wigwams
The Fox Wigwams were small cone-shaped houses with an arched roof made of wooden frames that are covered with woven mats and sheets of birchbark which are held in place by ropes or strips of wood. Some Fox wigwams were covered with buffalo hides, if this was a major resource in the area they lived in. A Wigwam was usually about 8-10 feet tall and 10 - 15 feet wide at the base.


What food did the Fox tribe eat?
The food that the Fox tribe ate depended on the natural resources that were available to them in the locations that they lived in.

  • The food of the Fox Northeast Woodland people were fish and small game including squirrel, deer, elk, raccoon, bear and beaver. Corn, squash, beans and pumpkin were raised by the women. The men also raised tobacco

  • The food of the Fox people who inhabited the Great Plains region was predominantly buffalo but also they also hunted deer, bear and wild turkey. Their diet was supplemented with roots and wild fruit and vegetables

What weapons did the Fox use?
The weapons used by the Fox warriors included bows and arrows, spears, lances, war clubs, tomahawks and knives.

What type of Transportation did the Fox use? Birch Bark and Dugout Canoes
The Fox Native Americans built canoes made from the bark of the birch trees over a wooden frame. The lightweight Birch Bark canoes were broad enough to float in shallow streams, strong enough to shoot dangerous rapids, and light enough for one man to easily carry a canoe on his back. The Fox tribe also built heavier dugout canoes.

Fox History: What happened to the Fox tribe?
The following Fox history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks of the people. The Fox timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.

Fox History Timeline

  • 1600s: The Fox (Meskwaki) lived in the southern Great Lakes Region

  • 1600's: New France' was established in the area of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. New France was divided into five colonies of Canada, Acadia, Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and Louisiana

  • 1600's: Jesuit missionary Claude Jean Allouez, vicar general of Quebec, visited the Fox between the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers

  • 1614: The New Netherlands was established and the Fox started trading with the Dutch along the Hudson

  • 1620: The Great Migration of English colonists and the encroachment of Native Indian lands in New England begins

  • 1634: Devastating epidemics of smallpox are spread by the Europeans.

  • 1670: Hudson Bay Company is formed establishing significant fur trading in Lake Superior region

  • 1688: The French and Indian Wars (1688-1763) begin marking the outbreak of King William's War (1688-1699) and the Fox become allies of the British and wage war against the French

  • 1696: Price of furs begins to collapse

  • 1712: The Fox establish a trading village just outside the walls of Fort Detroit (Fort Pontchartrain)

  • 1712: First Fox War (1712–1716)

  • 1712: The Siege of Fort Detroit April 1712The Fox with Sauk warriors totalling nearly 1000 men laid siege to the garrison of Fort Detroit

  • 1712: The Fox Indian Massacre occurs in May when the French are reinforced with their Huron and Ottawa allies. The Fox were disarmed but then 500 were killed by their enemy tribes. Survivors move to Northeastern Wisconsin

  • 1716: The French capture Fox war chief Pemaussa which led to a peace agreement ending the first Fox War

  • 1728: Second Fox War (1728 - 1733). King Louis XV of France orders the complete destruction of the Fox people

  • 1733: The Fox seek refuge with the Sauk tribe near Green Bay

  • 1734: The Fox tribe join in a successful alliance with the neighboring Sauk (Sac) tribe

  • 1744: King George's War (1744 - 1748) The Fox continue to fight with the British against the French

  • 1754: French Indian War (1754 - 1763), also known as the 7 year war, was the fourth and final series of conflicts in the French and Indian Wars

  • 1763: French and Indian War ends in victory for the British ending the colony of New France

  • 1763: The outbreak of Pontiac's War (1763–1766) in which Native American tribes resisted British settlement of the Great Lakes region

  • 1775: The War of Independence (1775–1783) - the Fox fought with the British

  • 1785: The Western Confederacy was formed consisting of many different tribes who aimed to keep the Ohio River as a boundary between Native Indian lands and the United States

  • 1785: Little Turtle's war (1785–1795), aka the Northwest Indian War erupted

  • 1787: The 1787 ordinance of Congress organized the North-western Territory, out of which the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin were eventually formed, creating hostility with the tribes of the Great Lakes and beyond

  • 1790: Harmar's defeat. General Josiah Harmar attempted to subdue Native Indians in the Northwest Territory but was defeated by a tribal coalition led by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket

  • 1791: Battle of the Wabash on November 4, 1791. Chief Little Turtle and Chief Blue Jacket led 1,000 warriors to a victory against Major General Arthur St. Clair's 1,400 federal troops.

  • 1794: Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794. Major General Anthony Wayne defeated Little Turtle and the coalition of Native Indians including the Fox

  • 1795: The Treaty of Greenville ended Little Turtle's war and Native Indian tribes were forced to cede much of present-day Ohio and Indiana to the United States

  • 1800's: Conflicts erupt between settlers and Native Indians including the Illinois, Iroquois, Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Miami, Shawnee, Sauk and Fox tribes throughout the 1800's

  • 1811: Tecumseh's War (1811–1813). The Fox join the Shawnee chief Tecumseh in an attempt to reclaim Indian lands.

  • 1830: The Indian Removal Act of 1830

  • 1832: Black Hawk War (1865 - 1872) broke out in Northern Illinois and Southwestern Wisconsin. Sauk and Fox tribes were led by Chief Black Hawk and were joined by other tribes in an attempt to re-take their homeland

  • 1845: Many Fox and Sauk were removed to a reservation in east central Kansas via the Dragoon Trace. Some stay in Iowa and Nebraska

  • 1867: Following the American Civil War, many people were sent to Indian Territory in Oklahoma

  • 1887: The Dawes General Allotment Act led to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Native Indian lands to white settlers.

Fox History Timeline


  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the Fox people lived
  • The clothes worn by Fox men
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Fox would eat
  • Fast Facts and info about the Fox
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Fox Native American Indians
  • Fox History Timeline

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
The Fox Tribe was one of the most famous tribes of Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Fox nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Fox tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .


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