The Meskwaki (sometimes spelled Mesquakie or Meskwahki) are a Native American people often known to outsiders as the Fox tribe. They have often been closely linked to the Sauk people. In their own language, the Meskwaki call themselves Meshkwahkihaki, which means "the Red-Earths." Historically their homelands were in the Great Lakes region. The tribe coalesced in the St. Lawrence River Valley in Ontario; it later moved to Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. In the 19th century, Euro-American colonization and settlement proceeded, forcing resettlement of the people south into the tall grass prairie in the American Midwest. The Meskwaki, within the designation 'Sac and Fox,' currently have reservations or settlements in Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.
The name is derived from the Meskwaki creation myth, in which their culture hero, Wisaka, created the first humans out of red clay. The name Fox originated from a French mistake of applying a clan 'fox' name to the entire tribe. Anglo-Americans, including the United States government, adopted the French term Renards (the Foxes) into English.
Meskwaki are of Algonquian origin from the prehistoric Woodland period culture area. The Meskwaki language is a dialect of the language spoken by the Sauk and Kickapoo, within the Algonquian languages family.