The Illini were original inhabitants of modern-day Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Iowa. The Illini tribe was nearly wiped out by war in the 1700’s, and the survivors had to move to Kansas and Oklahoma. The Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma is made up of Illinois Indians.
The most prominent tribes in Illinois were the Illinois, Miami, Winnebago, Fox and Sacs (Sauk), Kickapoo, and Pottawatomie tribes.
The Illinois Confederation, also referred to as the Illiniwek or Illini, was a group of 12–13 Native American tribes who lived in the Mississippi River Valley, occupying an area from Lake Michigan to Iowa, Illinois, and south to Missouri and Arkansas.
The first group–known to French explorers and missionaries as the Illinois or Illiniwek Indians –was a collection of twelve tribes that occupied a large section of the central Mississippi River valley, including most of what is today Illinois.
The Illinois spoke a language in the Algonquian language family called ” Miami-Illinois.” Miami and Illinois peoples could easily understand one another. The only differences in their speech were different ways of pronouncing certain words.
The name ” Illinois ” is a French alteration derived from the Native American word “ininiwek or ininiok.” Illinois was the name of a confederacy of six Native American tribes.
According to native-languages.org, the name Illinois is derived from the native American word “Illiniwek,” which is the tribal name of the Illini tribe. Literally, the name means “best people.”
This region was originally inhabited by the Potawatomi, Odawa, Sauk, Ojibwe, Illinois, Kickapoo (Kiikaapoi), Miami (Myaamia), Mascouten, Wea, Delaware, Winnebago, Menominee, and Mesquakie. Today there are 22,000 Native Americans living in Chicago.
Further Information Potawatomi /Bodéwadmiakiwen (Citizen Potawatomi ) Ojibwe. Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Lac Courte Oreilles band. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. St. Croix Chippewa. Odawa. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
Tribes in the Midwest Bay Mills Indian Community. Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Hannahville Indian Community. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
Out of this came the battle cry of the stadium campaign: “Build that stadium for fighting Illini.” Since the stadium was built to honor alumni, staff, and students who who died during World War I, the term ” Fighting Illini ” was seemingly being linked to military service.
The Illinois Confederation, also referred to as the Illiniwek or Illini, were made up of 12 to 13 tribes who lived in the Mississippi River Valley.
Illinois isn’t the version of the name; rather, it is the French pronunciation of the original word. The word Illinois is derived from the Native American word “iliniwok” or “illiniwek,” which literally means “best people”; it was used to refer to the 10 to 12 tribes found around the river.
Kaskaskia, the oldest town in the state and the first capitol of Illinois | Library of Congress.
Priests of the Quebec Seminary of Foreign Missions found the Holy Family mission at Cahokia, the first permanent settlement in the Illinois country.