Tattooed Fox Warrior


This drawing, executed at Quebec around 1730, shows a Fox warrior, tattooed and armed with a bow and arrow. An Algonquin people from the region of the Great Lakes, the Fox were decimated by wars with the French-backed Hurons and in the Fox Wars with the French that began at Detroit in 1712 and continued intermittently until 1738. The Fox Wars pitted the French and their Indian allies against the Fox, who had the support of the Sauk, Winnebago, and Kickapoo. The wars showed the inability of the French to impose peace among all the native nations, despite the success of the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701. The conflict took thousands of lives and destabilized the Pays-d’En-Haut (also known as the Upper Country, a vast territory to the west of Montreal). The warrior depicted here was captured by the Miami and turned over to the governor of Canada, Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois. He was deported to France in 1731 to become a galley slave, where he died the following year in a prison at Rochefort. The caption at the bottom of the illustration reads: “Fox Warrior. Feared by all nations because of their courage and speed of 25 to 30 leagues per day with no other food than forest herbs and leaves they are a group of around 400 to 500 armed men divided into 3 or 4 villages, since they have been at war with France almost all nations have learned to do their hair like the Foxes. When they have a shirt, they wear it tied when they have to fight.”

Last updated: November 4, 2015