Indian Tribes of the United States Letter S-Z

From the Index of the Presidential Messages and Papers 1789-1897
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Sac Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians who formerly lived near the mouth of the Ottawa River and along the Detroit River. They were driven thence by the Iroquois and settled about Green Bay, Wis. They allied themselves with the Fox tribe. About 1765 the Sacs took possession of land on both sides of the Mississippi, which they had conquered from the Illinois. From this time their history is the same as that of the Foxes. By 1810 they had overrun a large territory in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. They aided Pontiac, and during the Revolution supported the English. They fought against the United States in 1812. In 1832 a part of the tribe, led by Black Hawk, rebelled and was defeated and removed to the Indian Territory, where most of the remainder of the two tribes, numbering less than 1,000 still live. The name Sac is a corruption of the Indian word "Osagi," meaning "People at the mouth of the river," and refers to their early habitat.

Seminole Indians

A tribe of the Muskhogean stock of Indians. The tribal name is translated to mean "renegade" or "separatist," and refers to their having separated from the Creek confederacy during the latter part of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth centuries and settled in Florida. During the War of 1812 the British were materially aided by the Seminoles, and in 1817-18 they made many depredations on the settlements of Georgia and Alabama. By a treaty ratified in 1834 they ceded all their lands in the eastern part of the United States to the General Government and agreed to move to the Indian Territory. Their refusal to comply with the terms of this treaty led to a long and bloody war. (See Seminole Wars). The number of Seminoles finally removed in 1843 was officially reported as 3,824. They became one of the five civilized nations of the Indian Territory. In 1898, including negroes and adopted whites, they numbered some 3,000.

Seneca Indians

A tribe of the Iroquois confederacy of Indians. The name is foreign to the language of the tribe, and is probably a corruption of a word meaning "red paint". They called themselves by a name meaning "people of the mountain." When first known they occupied lands in western New York between Seneca Lake and the Genesee River. They allied themselves with Pontiac, destroyed Venango, attacked Fort Niagara, and cut off an army train near Devils Hole in 1763. They were conspicuous in the wars west of Lake Erie. On the defeat of the Erie and Neuter tribes they took possession of the territory westward to Lake Erie and southward along the Allegheny River into Pennsylvania receiving by adoption many of the conquered tribes, which act made them the largest tribe of the Iroquois confederacy. They sided with the British in the Revolutionary War, and their territory was devastated by the Americans. Peace was made with them in 1784. In the War of 1812 the tribe divided, those in New York taking part with the Americans and those in Ohio joining the hostile Western tribes. These were removed to the Indian Territory in 1831., the friendly tribes remaining in New York. In 1893 they numbered about 3,000.

Shawnee Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians. From their wanderings and the difficulties of identification their real habitat is uncertain. They seem to have wandered farther south than any other of the Algonquian tribes and to have been driven westward by the Iroquois. The name is translated to mean "Southerners". They were early known in the Cumberland Valley, in Tennessee, and along the Upper Savannah River, in South Carolina. About the middle of the eighteenth century they united in the Ohio Valley and were almost constantly at war with the whites. At first they aided the French, but were won over by the English. The Shawnees joined Pontiac, and from time to time continued hostilities until the peace of 1786. They took part in the Miami uprising, but were reduced by Gen. Wayne and submitted under the treaty of 1795. In 1812, under the leadership of Tecumseh, this tribe joined the English in their war against the Americans. They became scattered, and the Missouri band ceded their lands in 1825, the Ohio band in 1831. The main band ended their tribal relations in Kansas in 1854. They number about 1,500, chiefly in the Indian Territory.

Shoshone Indians

The most northerly confederation of the Shoshonean stock of Indians. They are sometimes known as Snake Indians. There are some 20 known tribes of Shoshones. The division formerly occupied western Wyoming, part of central and southern Idaho, part of eastern Oregon, western and central Nevada, and a strip of Utah west of the Great Salt Lake. The Snake River region of Idaho was their principal hunting ground. In 1803 they were on the head waters of the Missouri in western Montana, but they had earlier ranged farther east on the plains, whence they had been driven into the Rocky Mountains. Some of the bands near Great Salt Lake began hostilities in 1849. In 1862 California volunteers nearly exterminated one tribe. Treaties were made with various tribes later. They number some 5,000 of whom nearly 1,000 are at Fort Hall Agency and 350 at Lemhi Agency, Idaho.

Sioux, or Dakota, Indians

The principal division of the Siouan stock of Indians. The name is translated to mean "The snakelike ones." The early habitat of the Siouan family included parts of British America and the following States and Territories: Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Indian Territory, Mississippi, Kentucky, the Carolinas, and Virginia. The Dakotas, generally known as the Sioux, have always been the most warlike of the stock. They have been hostile not only to whites and to Indians of other stocks, but also to tribes of their own stock. The principal divisions of the family are the Dakota, Dhegiha, Tciwere, Winnebago, Mandan, Hidatsa, Tutelo, Biloxi, and Kataba. The present number of the Siouan stock is nearly 45,000, about 2,000 of whom are in British Amereica. The Sioux proper, or Dakotas, are divided into 7 council fires, and they are sometimes known by an Indian name signifying that fact. They aided the English in 1812. In 1837 they ceded all their lands east of the Mississippi to the Government and in 1851 made further grants. In 1854 they engaged in war against the whites, but were subjugated in 1855. In 1862 a general Sioux uprising occurred, in which many whites and Indians were killed. They were defeated and scattered by Government troops, and a treaty was made with them by Gen. Sherman in 1868. Nevertheless, Sitting Bull and some of the other chieftains were unreconciled. June 25, 1876 Gen. Custer and 276 men were surprised by a force of 9,000 Sioux on the Little Big Horn River, Montana, and massacred. (See also Custer Massacre.)

Six Nations of Indians

A confederation of the Indian tribes of the Huron-Iroquois family. They originally occupied the territory now included in New York State and southern Canada. The five original nations were the Mohawks, Senecas, Cayugas, Oneidas, and Onondagas. In 1712 the Tuscaroras, a branch of the Iroquois living in North Carolina, returned northward after their defeat by the white colonists, and joined their kindred. The confederation then became known as the Six Nations.


Tuscarora Indians

A tribe of the Iroquois stock of Indians. Their name means "Unwilling to be with others." They early separated from the parent stock and emigrated to the South. They were first known to Europeans on the Neuse River, in North Carolina. In 1711 they attacked the whites and were almost annihilated. The survivors returned to the Iroquois in New York and became one of the Six Nations. They number now about 700, about equally divided between New York and Canada.


Utah (Uta, Ute, or Youta) Indians

A division of the Shoshonean family of Indians. They formerly occupied the central and western portions of Colorado and the northeastern portion of Utah. The Utahs are divided into about 15 tribes and have been generally friendly to the whites. Some disturbances occurred between them and the Mormons and also the miners of Pikes Peak. In 1865 they ceded large tracts of land to the Government. They now number about 2,800.

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Wampanoag Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians. Their early habitation was the country to the west of Narragansett Bay. They also ruled the country from the bay to the Atlantic, including the island of Marthas Vineyard. The name means "Eastern lands." The Wampanoags were sometimes styled Pokanokets, after their principal village. They were at first very kindly disposed toward the whites. In 1621 they entered into a friendly compact with the Plymouth settlers, and Massasoit, the chief of the tribe, was on good terms with Roger Williams. They resisted all attempts to convert them to Christianity. Philip, the son of Massasoit, began a war against the whites in 1675, which, after great loss to the whites, resulted in the extermination of the tribe.

Winnebago Indians

A tribe of the Siouan stock of Indians. The name is a corruption of a word meaning "dirty water." They called themselves Hotcangara, meaning "parent speech." Early in the history of the Northwest Territory the Winnebagoes migrated eastward, but were forced back to the vicinity of Green Bay, Wis. They were nearly exterminated through wars with neighboring tribes in the seventeenth century. They aided the French in the wars between France and England and were allies of the British during both the Revolution and the War of 1812. The Winnebagoes were active in the Indian war of 1793-94 and were subdued by Gen. Wayne. A treaty of peace was made with them in 1816. In 1826 and 1827 treaties were made fixing the boundaries of their hunting grounds. In 1829 they ceded large tracts of land to the General Government, and after several removals they were in 1866 settled upon reservations in Nebraska and Wisconsin. Their number in 1893 was 2,184.

Wyandotte Indians

A tribe of the Iroquoian family of Indians. When first known to the whites they occupied a narrow strip of land in Ontario, but between 1615 and 1650 they were almost exterminated in war with neighboring tribes. They joined with another tribe and soon spread along the south and west shores of Lake Erie and acquired considerable influence. The Wyandottes sided with the French till the close of Pontiac's War and aided the British in the War of 1812. The word "Wyandotte" means "calf of the leg," and refers to the manner in which they cut their meat. They were called "Hurons" by the French on account of the arrangement of their hair, which resembled the bristles of a wild boar. They now number about 700, mostly at Quapaw Agency, Ind. T.

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Website: The History
Article Name: Indian Tribes of the United States Letter S-Z
Researcher/Preparer/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my Collection of Books: "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897". By James D. Richardson--a Representative from the State of Tennessee. Publisher: by Authority of Congress--1899. Ten volumes total. Copyright: 1897 by James D. Richardson.
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