Sauk Indian Tribe Culture

Material culture of the Sauk tribe. The culture of the Sauk was that of the eastern wooded area. They were a canoe people while they were in the country of the Great Lakes, using both the birch-bark canoe and the dugout. They still retain the dugout, and learned the use and construction of the bull-boat on coming out upon the plains. They practiced agriculture on an extensive scale; they cultivated the ground for maize, squashes, beans, and tobacco. Despite their fixed abodes and villages they did not live a sedentary life altogether, for much of the time they devoted to the chase, hunting game and fishing almost the whole year round. They were acquainted with wild rice, and hunted the buffalo. They did not get possession of horses until after the Black Hawk war in 1832, and they did not become very familiar with the horse and the mule until after their arrival in Kansas, after the year 1837. Their abode was the bark house in warm weather and the oval flag reed lodge in winter; the bark house was characteristic of the village. Every gens had one large bark house wherein were celebrated the festivals of the gens. In this lodge hung the sacred bundles of the gens, and here dwelt the priests that watched over them. It is said that some of these lodges were of the length required to accommodate five fires. The ordinary bark dwelling had but a single fire, which was at the center.


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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