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Illinois Native Americans – American Indians in Illinois History

Illinois Native Americans – American Indians in Illinois History

This webpage has links to free online books and articles, with descriptions, about Native Americans in Illinois; American Indians in Illinois history.  Topics include:

Indian tribes of the Chicago region,
Archaeology of Native American sites, Mound Builders,
Native American tribes throughout Illinois,
Cahokia prehistoric city,
Indian-Settler relations at beginning of 19th century,
Trade with Indians 1780s-1810s,
Chicago present-day urban Indians,
Indian agents in early 19th century,
Indian place names in Illinois.

Illinois Indians Collection

About 30 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Illinois Indians”. Some titles are: Education of Urban Indians : Lumbee Indians in Baltimore, Indians and their education in Chicago, Cahokia : mirror of the cosmos, Illinois native peoples, The Indian tribes of the Chicago region, Indian villages of the Illinois country, The Indian mounds at Albany, Illinois, Carlyle Reservoir archaeology, An archaeological survey of the Macoupin Valley, Animals utilized by Woodland peoples occupying the Apple Creek site, Illinois, Mississippian site archaeology in Illinois, Prehistoric life on the Mississippi floodplain. Native American tribes in Illinois.

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

Narrative of the Captivity of William Biggs among the Kickapoo Indians in Illinois in 1788

Biggs, William
NY: Heartman. 1922

A 35-page description of the entire period captivity of a few weeks, from the time Bigg was taken prisoner until, with the help of French traders, he was able to buy his freedom. He was not really mistreated, and he is seldom critical of the Indians who held him. Native Americans in Illinois.

See our free novels set in Illinois

Some Account of the Indian Tribes formerly Inhabiting Indiana and Illinois

Beckwith, Hiram W.
Chicago: Fergus 1884

The author wrote in the introduction that this account of the Indians was condensed from a previous volume, with some new matter added. “It is mostly the result of his gleanings over a wide field of antiquated books of travel and maps long since out of print, or copies of manuscript-correspondence of a private or official character, little of which is accessible to the general reader.” Illinois Native American History.

For works about prominent Native American leaders in the Old Northwest, see:
– Various books and articles on Tecumseh, The Prophet, Logan, Cornstalk, Bluejacket and Joseph Brant in Biographies & Memoirs in Great Lakes History
– Thwaites, Reuben Gold, “Logan, The Mingo Chief 1710-1780″ in Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History;
Cole, Cyrenus, I am a Man: the Indian Black Hawk in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Quaife, Milo Milton, ed., The Life of Black Hawk; Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Ellis, Edward S., The Life of Pontiac, the Conspirator, Chief of the Ottawas in Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes;
Turner, F. N. (Dr.), “Chief Okemos” in Native Americans in Michigan History;
Matson, Nehemiah, “Sketch of Shau-be-na, a Pottawattamie Chief” in Native Americans in Wisconsin History;

The Last of the Illinois, & a Sketch of the Pottawatomies

Caton, John Dean
Chicago: Rand, McNally. 1870

The author was one of the early settlers in Chicago in the early 1830s, and had hunted and fished with the local Pottawatomie Indians for years. This address to the Chicago Historical Society combines his nostalgia for that life in nature with a review of what was known about the origins of the local Indian tribes. Illinois Native American History.

“1,000 Years Ago, Corn Made This Society Big. Then, A Changing Climate Destroyed It”

National Public Radio (Website) Feb 10, 2017

Chen, Angus

“About a 15-minute drive east of St. Louis is a complex of earthen mounds that once supported a prehistoric city of thousands. For a couple of hundred years, the city, called Cahokia, and several smaller city-states like it flourished in the Mississippi River Valley. But by the time European colonizers set foot on American soil in the 15th century, these cities were already empty.” Illinois Native American History.

“Sauk and Mesquakie Women in Eighteenth-and-Nineteenth-Century Northern Illinois”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 10, No. 2, 2003, pp 2-5

Clemmons, Linda
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

A brief history, for the benefit of teachers. Native Tribes in Illinois.

The Indian Question in Illinois

Davis, Exum Woodard
University of Illinois 1903

A thesis submitted for a Masters’ Degree.

Contents: – Trade with the Indians – Relations with the Indians prior to the Organization of Illinois into a Separate Territory in 1809 – Relations with the Indians during the Territorial Period – Relations with the Indians during Statehood. Native Tribes in Illinois.

See our books on Illinois cities & other places

The Illinois Indian Trade 1783-1818

Downey, Dennis
Eastern Illinois University 1972

M.A. Thesis. The author’s theme is the competition among nations for supremacy over the Indian trade. He explores the processes and means used by countries to control this area, the methods they used to foster the growth of the Indian trade, and the various outcomes of their efforts. Native Tribes in Illinois.

“The Kickapoo Indians: Illinois’ Earliest Pioneers”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 6, No. 1, 1999, pp 15-18

Herring, Joseph B.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

A school lesson plan that includes a brief history of the Kickapoos.

“Monuments to a Lost Nation”

Chicago History, Spring 2004, pp 4-31

Karamanski, Theodore
Chicago Historical Society

Abstract: “The 1833 Treaty of Chicago was one of a series of agreements that terminated the native title to the American heartland and seemed to end Native American presence in the life and culture of Chicago. But a rediscovery of the city’s native roots emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This figurative return of the native to Chicago was a symbolic encounter driven by a mixture of nostalgia, guilt, and the need of an industrial metropolis to invent a narrative that offered a common background for a community of widely diverse national origins. On the city’s landscape and in its public culture, Chicagoans created statues, monuments, and illusrrations–durable visual representations—of how they chose to commemorate the city’s exiled first inhabitants.”

Chicago’s First Urban Indians – The Potawatomi

Low, John L.
University of Michigan 2011

PhD Dissertation that “examines the ways some Pokagon Potawatomi found to retain a distinct “American Indian” identity; the ways their resistance represented both their rejection of assimilation into the mainstream, and their desire for inclusion into the larger contemporary society without forfeiting their “Indianness.” The Potawatomi (more specifically the Pokagon Potawatomi) have been a part of Chicago since its founding. In very public expressions of indigeneity, they have refused to hide in plain sight or assimilate. Instead, throughout the city’s history, the Pokagon Potawatomi Indians have openly and aggressively expressed their refusal to be marginalized or forgotten – and in doing so they have contributed to the fabric and history of the city. Examining, in roughly chronological order, the literature and rhetoric of Simon Pokagon, the spectacles, performances, and monuments of the Potawatomi, their efforts for the restoration of territory, and their engagement with sport and recreation, this dissertation reveals how these activities and practices preserved and promoted a Pokagon Potawatomi presence in the city. -Abstract

Contents: Prologue: Chicago’s first urban Indians – the Potawatomi – Orientation: Topics, themes and literature – The rhetoric of Simon Pokagon: claims of equality, appeals for reconciliation & inclusion – The politics of monuments and memorials for the Potawatomi in Chicago – Claims making to the Chicago Lakefront – The legacies of Turner, Cody, Streeter and the Pokagon Potawatomi – Leroy Wesaw and the Chicago Canoe Club – Conclusion

French and Indians of Illinois River

Mason, Nehemiah
Princeton, ILL: Republican 1874

The author wrote that this is a history of the country between the Wabash and Mississippi rivers, which was once occupied by the Illinois Indians. Some of the incidents in the narrative, “…are drawn from history, others from traditions, while many are from the statements of persons who figured in them. To collect these traditions from the Indians and early French pioneers, has been the work of many years, and harmonizing all conflicting accounts, candor compels me to admit, has not been a success.”

The Indian Agencies at Peoria and Rock Island

A Study in the Potwatomi and Sauk and Fox Indians

Massey, Dorothy
University of Wisconsin 1923

Thesis submitted for M.A. degree. This seems to be mainly a description of the activities, observations and views of Thomas Forsyth, a fur trader from about 1793, and an Indian agent in Peoria and Rock Island from 1812 to 1830. Particularly interesting for the details of operations of fur traders and Indian Agents.

See our free Illinois travel books

The Last of a Great Indian Tribe; a Chapter of Colonial History

Osman, Eaton G.
Chicago: Flanagan 1923

“I have not attempted to rewrite the history of the Illinois country, but only of Fort St. Louis of the Illinois, the seat of French authority in the Mississippi Valley, in order to show the part played by the Indians of Illinois and Wisconsin in the struggle between France and England for the possession of North America. The contest in the Illinois country separated Louisiana from Quebec, and ended on the St. Lawrence by the surrender of all the continent save Louisiana… The aftermath in the West was the annihilation of the remnants of A Great Indian Tribe on the site of Fort St. Louis, since known by the significant name of Starved Rock.” -Author’s Preface

Contents: Physical characteristics – The pathfinders: sketches of Jolliet and Marquette – The discovery: the voyage of Jolliet and Marquette – La Salle in Illinois: his early discoveries – A year of disaster: the work of the Iroquois – A year of success: La Salle founds his colony – Kismet: failure and death – La Salle: his dream of empire – Tonty – The Mission: the Immaculate Conception – The drama of the 18th century: The political problem of the French – Starved rock in the 18th century: the Indian sieges – The final tragedy – The aftermath: The Pottawatomies – The era of the white man – Relics: an ancient deed

Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi

Pauketat, Timothy R.
Penguin 2010

“Almost a thousand years ago, a Native American city flourished along the banks of the Mississippi River near what is now St. Louis. Filled with as many as 20,000 residents at its height, Cahokia seemingly grew out of nowhere around the year 1050, featuring scores of packed-earth mounds and a sprawling plaza the size of thirty-five football fields. Yet by 1400 it had been abandoned. In Cahokia, anthropologist Timothy R. Pauketat reveals the story of the city and its people as uncovered by archaeologists. What emerges is an absorbing portrait of a society capable of producing both complex celestial timepieces and disturbing acts of large-scale human sacrifice— an edifying narrative of prehistoric America that brings us back in touch with our deepest past.” -Publisher

Contents: The mother of Native North America — Supernova — Walking into Cahokia — The original rolling stones — Ghosts of archaeologists — Discovery at Mound 72 — Twin heroes — American Indian royalty — Digging for the goddess — Wrestling with the gods — Treasure maps of the past — High plains drifting

“Destruction of the Fox Indians in 1730”

Transactions no. 7 1902 pp 148-154

Steward, John F.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society

The author writes that the French at Fort Detroit in 1712 encouraged the local tribes under French influence to attack the Foxes, and in 1716 the Commandant at Mackinaw moved against the Fox Indians located on the Wisconsin, “and wrought wholesale slaughter”. About 1730 the last of the Fox were wiped out about 30 miles from LaSalle’s Rock in the Illinois river. The author gives very detailed accounts of some of these actions, although his sources are not provided.

The Pottawatomis: History and Folklore of the Indians of Kankakeeland

Stone, Al, ed.
Kankakee, ILL: Kankakee County Historical Society 1960

This small book with numerous illustrations was prepared by students of the Mark Twain School in Kankakee.

Indian Tribes of the Chicago Region, with Special Reference to the Illinois and the Potawatomi

Strong, William Duncan
Chicago, 1938

This booklet was issued as “Anthropology Leaflet 24” by Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, and the author was from the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. It is a short description of the culture of some tribes in the region, together with a few photos of artifacts.

Indian Villages of the Illinois Country: Historic Tribes

Temple, Wayne C.
Springfield, Ill: 1958

This study, sponsored by the Illinois State Museum and authored by the Museum’s Curator of Ethno history, uses anthropological and historical methods and sources to sum up what is known about the regional Indians of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Contents:-Introduction – -Iliniwek – -Miami – -Sauk and Fox – -Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa – -Kickapoo and Mascouten – -Shawnee and Delaware – -Winnebago – -Menominee – -Bibliography

Mound builders of Illinois …

descriptive of certain mounds and village sites in the American bottoms and along the Kaskaskia and Illinois rivers

Throop, Addison J.
East St. Louis, ILL: Call 1928

This small archaeological study of the mounds reviews what is known about the mounds as of the 1920, but is primarily about stone relics and pottery shards found at the various mounds. Descriptions of the properties and functions of the relics accompany numerous photos.

For works on the mound-builders:
Shetrone, Henry Clyde, The Mound Builders; A reconstruction of the life of a prehistoric American race in Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes
Easton, J. A., “American Aborigines and their Social Customs” in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Fowke, Gerard, Archaeological History of Ohio: The Mound Builders and Later Indians in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Moorehead, Warren K.,“The Indian Tribes of Ohio – Historically Considered” in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;
Randall,Emilius Oviatt,The Masterpieces of the Ohio Mound Builders: The Hilltop Fortifications, including Fort Ancient in Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History;

Indian Place Names in Illinois

Vogel, Virgil J.
Illinois State Historical Society 1963

A reprinted article from the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, volume LV (1962)

History of the War between the United States and the Sac and Fox Nations of Indians …

and Parts of Other Disaffected Tribes of Indians, in the Years Eighteen Hundred and Twenty-Seven, Thirty-One, and Thirty-Two

Wakefield, John Allen
Jacksonville, Ill., 1834

This detailed description of these wars was a contemporary account, published almost immediately after the Black Hawk war.

See the resources on this site for: The Black Hawk War of 1832

See our free novels here at Century Past

“Illinois Indians & French Colonists: Cultural Collaboration and Change”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 11, No. 1, 2004, pp 29-33

Warren, Robert E.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

“Illinois Indians in the Illinois Country”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 11, No. 1, 2004, pp 19-23

Warren, Robert E.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Indians of the Chicago Region

Winslow, Charles Spaulding, ed.
Chicago: Winslow 1946

Brief histories, stories and Indian legends that the editor collected from varied sources.

Contents: Origin of the Indians – Creation of Man – Indian history – Early French – Starved Rock – Northwest Territory – Fort Dearborn – Customs – Treaties – Trails Tale of the Red Fox – Chikagou and Tonika – Indian Chiefs – – Shabbona – – Sauganash – – Chechepinqua – – Leopold Pokagon – – Simon Pokagon – Recent Events – Indian Council Fire – Reminders – Red Man’s Greeting

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