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Indians of The Chicago Region

Sketch of Chicago in 1820

Sketch of Chicago in 1820
From Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes, Vol. IV

Indians of The Chicago Region with special reference to the Illinois and the Potawatomi. This leaflet, prepared by Assistant Curator Strong, is based on the material collected by Mr. Chandler and on information supplied by him. The author has likewise utilized the existing literature and an unpublished document in manuscript written by De Gannes in 1721.

In August 1926 a new exhibit illustrating the life and culture of the Potawatomi Indians was placed in James Nelson and Anna Louise Raymond Hall (Cases 37-39) . At the time of the first white settlement this Indian tribe inhabited the Chicago region. It therefore seemed desirable to gather and preserve in the Museum as many relics as possible of the former aborigines of our territory and to have a worthy representation of them in the exhibits as an illustration of an interesting chapter in our local history. An endowment of Julius and Augusta N. Rosenwald enabled the Institution to engage for this purpose Mr. M. G. Chandler who by adoption is a member of the Potawatomi tribe and who has an intimate knowledge of the central Algonkian group. During three months in 1925 he visited the Potawatomi and such related tribes as the Menominee, Winnebago, Sauk and Fox, all widely scattered, and obtained excellent results both as to collections and data. An account of this expedition is contained in the Annual Report of the Director for the Year 1925, pp. 427-429, also a brief description of the collections on pp. 416-417.

Introductory Note

The region around the southern end of Lake Michigan where the city of Chicago now stands has been the home of many peoples and the scene of much conflict in historic and probably in prehistoric times. It is the purpose of this essay to give in a brief outline the sequence of those peoples in so far as they are known, and to depict the background from which emerges the great commercial city of today. The history of the region as it pertains to the white man is well known, but before his advent and during the stirring conflicts of colonial tunes the various Indian tribes of the Great Lakes played a large part, and it is with the Indians that this article is mainly concerned.

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