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Native American Tribes of Illinois

Welcome to our Illinois State Facts section, part of an educational project designed to provide information about indigenous people in different U.S. states. Follow the links to the right of our tribal map for more information about the language, culture and history of each Illinois tribe, or scroll below the map for Illinois Indian activities including a wordsearch, fact sheets, and words from the Native American languages of Illinois. Feel free to print any of these materials out for classroom use!

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American Indians in Illinois

Did you know the name "Illinois" is an Algonquian Indian word? It comes from the Miami-Illinois tribal name Illiniwek, which means "the people." The Illini Indians were not the only Native Americans in Illinois, however.

The original inhabitants of the area that is now Illinois included:

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*The Chickasaw tribe
*The Dakota Sioux tribe
*The Ho-Chunk tribe (Winnebago)
*The Illinois tribe (Illini)
*The Miami tribe
*The Shawnee tribe

Other Indian tribes that migrated into Illinois after Europeans arrived:

*The Delaware tribe
*The Kickapoo tribe
*The Ottawa tribe
*The Potawatomi tribe
*The Sac and Fox tribes
*The Wyandot tribe

There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Illinois today.

The Indian tribes of Illinois are not extinct, but like many other native tribes, they were forced to move to Indian reservations in Oklahoma by the American government. You can find their present-day locations by clicking on the tribal links above.

Teaching and learning activities about Illinois Native American Indians:

Feel free to print these out to use at school!

*Illinois Native Americans Word Search: Printable puzzle hiding the names of Illinois Indian tribes.
*Illinois Language Greetings: Learn to say "hello" in several Native Illinois languages.
*Illinois Native Animals: Learn the Native American names of Illinois animals.
*Illinois Indian Facts for Kids: Answers to frequently asked questions about Illinois Indians.
    We currently have pages for the Illini, Miami, Shawnee, Dakota Sioux, Chickasaw, Winnebago, Delaware,
    Kickapoo, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Huron-Wyandot, and Sac-Fox tribes.

Recommended books about Illinois Native Americans
(Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links)

*Illinois Native Peoples: Introducing Illinois Native American history and culture to kids.
*Illinois Indians: Another book on Illinois tribes for kids.
*The Indians of Illinois: More in-depth book about Illinois Indian history and culture.
*Encyclopedia of Illinois Indians: Thorough reference book about Illinois Native American Indians.
*Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians: An interesting book on a prehistoric civilization of Illinois.
*The Cahokia Mounds * Cahokia: Mirror of the Cosmos:
    Two more good books on the ancient Moundbuilder civilization.
*Indian Place Names in Illinois: The native etymology of present-day place-names in Illinois.
*Indiana and Illinois Indians: Antropology text about the Native American tribes of Illinois and Indiana.
*The Illinois Confederacy of Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Oklahoma:
   History and culture of the Illini, written for younger readers.

Other resources about American Indian history, culture and society in Illinois state:

*Native Americans of Illinois: The history of native people in Illinois, from the Illinois State Museum.
*Indians of the Chicago Region: Article on the original inhabitants of what is now Chicago.
*Illinois Indian History: Article on the Indian tribes of Illinois and their interactions with early settlers.
*Cahokia Mounds: Information about this Illinois archaeological site and the ancient Mound Builder civilization.

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