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Origin of the Saginaw Name.
Sauks ruled the Saginaw Valley before Chippewa Indians.
  • Transcribed (October 2006).
  • The Bay City Times - February 28, 1937 - (Michigan Centennial Edition)

    Name, Saginaw Derived From Sauk Indians

    Territory Was Once Inhabited By Famous Tribe of Warriors.

    O-sauk-e-non, an Indian name meaning “the land of the Sauks,” is the word from which the Saginaw Valley drives its name.

    Three hundred years ago the Sauks were a strong tribe, warlike and peaceful, who were the undisputed leaders of the entire land that is now eastern Michigan.

    The Saginaw Valley , as the most fertile and attractive spot of the lake region, naturally became a center of the tribal councils.

    Even as late as 1860, the region that is now the West Side of Bay City was a favorite camping ground for the redskins, and game of all kinds abounded.

    The Sauks themselves it is believed, occupied the entire district along the Saginaw river and its tributaries, while the main village of the tribe stood on the West Side, just below the old Frank Fitzhugh residence.

    Gradually, however, the power of the Sauk tribes waned, and the Chippewa, to the north, with the Pottawatomies on the south, decreased their numbers greatly in a series of savage battles.

    At a conference of the Indian nations, the Chippewa, who ultimately became undisputed rulers of this district, showed a singular mercy and allowed the remnants of the Sauk tribe to migrate to the west of the Mississippi river.

    The Saginaw region, after the terrific massacre that had taken place, became greatly feared by the other tribesmen, as many who came here to hunt never returned, and it was believed that the spirits of the slaughtered Sauks were busily engaged in haunting the district as a revenge to the conquerors.

    From this unsavory reputation, the Saginaw region was gradually designated as a sort of penal colony, where Indians who had transgressed were sent for their crimes.

    The Chippewa remained the unchallenged rulers of the Saginaw Valley until the treaties with the white men in 1819.

    Related Pages/Notes

    None at this time.
    People Referenced
    Fitzhugh, Frank
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay city
    Eastern Michigan
    Indian nations
    Mississippi River
    Penal colony
    Saginaw River
    Saginaw Valley
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.