Illinois Indian Tribes
Representatives of this tribe
appear in treaties made in 1795, 1816, 1829, and 1833 relinquishing Illinois
land to the Whites. (See
While they were being slowly
crowded west by the Whites, the Delaware passed across Illinois, and their
connection with the State was transitory in both senses of the term. (See New Jersey.)
This tribe, together with the
Sauk, drove the Illinois Indians from the northwestern part of the State of
Illinois in the latter part of the eighteenth century and took their places, but
ceded the territory to the United States Government by a treaty signed November
3, 1804. (See
A native word signifying "men,"
"people." Also called:
Chicktaghicks, Geghdageghroano, or Kighetawkigh Roanu, by the
Oudataouatouat, applied by the Wyandot to the Ottawa and later to
Witishaxtanu, the Huron name for the Illinois and Miami, from
Ushaxtdno, "Illinois River."
Illinois belonged to the Algonquian linguistic family, and were more closely
connected with the
than with any other Algonquian tribe, except the
Location.- In historic
times they lived principally along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers,
one division, the Michigamea, being as far south as northeastern Arkansas
(q. v.). (See also Indiana,
Ohio, Oklahoma, and
Subdivisions and Villages
The Illinois were in reality a group of related tribes, of
which the best known are the following:
Cahokia, later home about Cahokia, Ill.
Kaskaskia, before 1700 near the present Utica, La Salle County, later at
Michigamea, probably on Big Lake, between the St. Francis and Mississippi
Moingwena, in Iowa near the mouth of Des Moines River.
Peoria, their early location probably in northeastern Iowa, later near the
Tamaroa, on both sides of Mississippi River about the mouths of the
Illinois and Missouri.
The following were perhaps minor Illinois tribes:
Albivi, given by only one writer and it is doubtful whether this was a
true Illinois band.
Amonokoa, mentioned by Hennepin, 1680.
Chepoussa, probably a band from Kaskaskia River connected with the
Chinko, mentioned by Allouez and La Salle.
Coiracoentanon, mentioned by La Salle.
Espeminkia, mentioned by La Salle.
Tapouaro, mentioned by La Salle.
The villages noted in history are:
Cahokia, near the present Cahokia.
Immaculate Conception, a mission among the Kaskaskia, near Rockford.
Kaskaskia, as given above.
Matchinkoa, 30 leagues from Fort Crevecoeur, near the present Peoria.
Moingwena, as given above.
Peoria, as given above.
Pimitoui, on Illinois River near the mouth of Fox River in La Salle
History. In 1667 the
French priest Allouez met a party of Illinois Indians who had come to La
Pointe on Lake Superior to trade. In 1673 Marquette, while descending the
Mississippi, found the Peoria and Moingwena west of the river near the
mouth of the Des Moines, but before his return they had moved to the
neighborhood of the present Peoria, and most of the other Illinois tribes,
except the Mitchigamea, were then on Illinois River. In 1700 the Kaskaskia
moved to southern Illinois and settled on Kaskaskia River. About the time
of La Salle's visit in 1682 the Illinois were at war with a number of
neighboring peoples, and the Iroquois, who were then just beginning raids
against them, caused them heavy losses in the succeeding years.
The murder of
Pontiac by a
Kaskaskia Indian set the northern tribes in motion against the Illinois
and in the ensuing wars the latter were reduced to a fraction of their
former strength and the Sauk,
dispossessed them of the greater part of their territories. The remnant
settled near the French at Kaskaskia, where they continued to decline in
numbers until, in 1800, only about 150 were left. In 1832 the survivors
sold their lands and removed west of the Mississippi, to the present
Kansas, whence they removed again in 1867 and became consolidated with the
Wea and Piankeshaw in the northeastern corner of the present State of
(1928) estimated that in 1650 the Illinois numbered about 8,000. About
1680 Hennepin gives 400 houses and 1,800 warriors. Rasles estimated 300
cabins of 4 fires each, indicating a population of 9,000, which is
probably excessive. About the year 1750 there were supposed to be from
1,500 to 2,000 souls. In 1778 the Kaskaskia numbered 210 and the Peoria
and Michigamea together 170. In 1800 all these were reduced to 150. In
1885 the mixed-blood remnant in Indian territory, including the Wea and
Piankeshaw, numbered 149, and in 1905, 195. The census of 1910 gave 128,
of whom 114 were in Oklahoma, and the census, of 1930, 284 Illinois and
Miami. In 1937 there were 370 "Peoria" in Oklahoma.
Connection in which they have
become noted. The chief claim of the Illinois to distinction is the
adoption of its name for an important branch of the Mississippi and more
particularly its later adoption as the name of the State of Illinois. The
name is also given geographical application in Arkansas, 'Texas, Oregon,
and Oklahoma. The name appears in Illinois Bend, Montague County, Tex.;
Illinois City, Rock Island County, Ill.; and Illiopolis, Sangamon County,
tribe, after helping destroy the Illinois, settled on
Vermilion River and extended its territories to Illinois
River. It ceded this land to the United States
Government July 30, 1819. (See
early times the Miami had a town where now stands
Chicago, and later their territorial claims covered
parts of the eastern sections of the State. (See
Some Ottawa worked down to the
northernmost part of the State in the eighteenth
century. (See Michigan.)
tribe succeeded the Miami in the region of Chicago, and,
after the destruction of the Illinois, occupied still
more territory in the northeastern part of the State.
assisted their relatives the Foxes in expelling the
Illinois tribes from the Rock River region, and they
occupied it with them until the lands were ceded to the
Whites and they moved farther west. (See
were Shawnee for a while in the southern part of
Representatives of this tribe
were parties to an Illinois land cession in 1829. (See Wisconsin.)
Some Wyandot were parties to the
Greenville Treaty in 1795 relinquishing land in Illinois to the Whites. (See
Notes About the Book:
Source: The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton, 1953, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin 145, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC.
Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr'd. Minimal editing
has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual