Thursday, April 20, 2023

Sac and Fox Nation - Joseph Smith Papers

An article about the final volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers includes an image of Joseph Smith preaching the King Follet sermon in April 1944.

(click to enlarge)

On the stand with Joseph are members of the Sac and Fox Nation. Theses tribes were originally from the Lake Huron and Lake Michigan area before a series of wars (and the US government) forced them to relocate to Oklahoma, Iowa, and Missouri. See the note from JSP below.*

A month later, members of the tribe visited Joseph in Nauvoo. He explained that the Book of Mormon told him about their fathers.

23 May 1844 • Thursday
Thursday 23rd.—  rather better. Read Hebrew with , and Counseled with various friends. At 10 A. M. Municipal Court Met  presiding, and <​but there not being a quorum present,​> adjourned for one week. At one P M had a talk with the Sac and Fox Indians in my back kitchen. They said: “When our fathers first came here, this land was inhabited by the Spanish, when the Spaniards were driven off the French came, and then the English and Americans; and our fathers talked a great deal with the Big Spirit.” I <​They​> told them I knew complained <​that​> they had been robbed of their lands by the white, and cruelly treated. I told them I knew they had been wronged, but that we had bought this land and paid our money for it. I advised them not to sell any more land, but to cultivate peace with the different tribes, and with all men; as the Great Spirit wanted them to be united and to live in peace. “The Great Spirit has enabled me to find a book (shewing them a <​the​> Book of Mormon) which told me of <​about​> your fathers, and the Great Spirit told me, ‘you must send to all the tribes that you can, and tell them to live in peace’; and when any of our people come to see you, I want you to treat them as we treat you.”

This identification of the Sac and Fox as descendants of the Book of Mormon people is consistent with what Joseph Smith wrote in the Wentworth letter, as well as with the "Mission to the Lamanites" as described in D&C 28, 30 and 32.


*The Sauk (or Sac) and Fox tribes, who were living in present-day Michigan and Ohio by the early seventeenth century, established political ties with each other in the eighteenth century after a protracted war with the French nearly decimated the Fox tribe. Continued conflict with the French forced the confederation to move south into present-day IllinoisIowa, and Missouri—the western portions of which belonged to Spain at the time—where they began warring with tribes such as the Kaskaskia and Osage, who were already living in the area. American expansion into these lands after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 led to further conflict, including an Indian raid in which three white settlers were killed. Hoping to avoid full-scale war with the United States, a delegation of Sauk and Fox leaders made an agreement with Indiana territorial governor William Henry Harrison to cede part of their land in exchange for the return of an Indian prisoner. Harrison evidently did not reveal the full extent of the cession, however, which included most of western Illinois (including the land on which Nauvoo was located), southwestern Wisconsin, and parts of eastern Missouri. Indian resentment over the treaty appears to have been a key factor behind the 1832 Black Hawk War, which resulted in the Indians being forced to cede to the United States one and one-quarter of a million acres of land in present-day Iowa. The remainder of their land was sold to the government in 1842. The Indians were permitted to continue living on the western portion of this land until 1845, when they were relocated to lands in present-day Kansas. (Jung, Black Hawk War of 1832, 11–32, 190–209; White, Middle Ground, 469–517; Eby, ‘That Disgraceful Affair,’ 37–63, 263–295.) 

Note 349.