Illinois Indians – Native Americans in Illinois History

The free online books and other resources below are about Illinois Indians, or Native Americans. See the right column for more info about this website.

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

NY: Heartman. 1922
Biggs, WilliamGo to Book

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.

Kickapoo Indian tribe, Native American history, Illinois history, ebooks online

Some Account of the Indian Tribes formerly Inhabiting Indiana and Illinois

Chicago: Fergus 1884
Beckwith, Hiram W.Go to Book

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.”

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;

Native Americans in Illinois, Native Americans in Indiana, American Indian history, geography, online book

Illinois Indians

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

Chicago: Rand, McNally. 1870
Caton, John DeanGo to Book

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.

Pottawatomie tribe, Native American history, Pottawatomie culture, history of Chicago IL, ebooks free

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

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Clemmons, LindaGo to Article

The Indian Question in Illinois

University of Illinois 1903
Davis, Exum WoodardGo to Book

A thesis submitted for a Masters’ Degree. Chapter headings are:
– 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

Illinois Native Americans, Indians in Northwest Territory

“The Kickapoo Indians: Illinois’ Earliest Pioneers”

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Herring, Joseph B.Go to Article

French and Indians of Illinois River

Princeton, ILL: Republican 1874
Mason, Nehemiah Go to Book

The author says this is a history of the country between the Wabash and Mississippi rivers, that was once occupied by the Illinois Indians. He says that 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.”

Native American heritage, Wabash River, Mississippi River, free ebooks

Illinois Indians

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

Chicago: Flanagan 1923
Osman, Eaton G.Go to Book

“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.”
– From the author’s Preface

Native Americans of Illinois, Starved Rock IL, books online free

“Destruction of the Fox Indians in 1730”

Transactions no. 7 1902 pp 148-154

Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society
Steward, John F.Go to Article

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.

Fox Indians, Fox Wars, First Fox War, Second Fox War, Fort Detroit, New France, Illinois history, ebooks free

Illinois Indians

The Pottawatomis: History and Folklore of the Indians of Kankakeeland

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

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

Indian Tribes of the Chicago Region

Chicago, 1938
Strong, William DuncanGo to Book

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.

Illinois tribe, Potawatomi tribe, Menominee tribe, Winnebago tribe, Sauk tribe, Fox tribe, Chicago history, Native American history, books online

Indian Villages of the Illinois Country: Historic Tribes

Springfield, Ill: 1958
Temple, Wayne C.Go to Book

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. Chapter headings are:

-Sauk and Fox
-Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa
-Kickapoo and Mascouten
-Shawnee and Delaware

Native Americans in Illinois, Native American history, Illinwek Indians, Miami Indians, Sauk and Fox Indians, Ottawa Indians, Shawnee Indians, free ebook

Mound builders of Illinois …

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

(title continued) ” …descriptive of certain mounds and village sites in the American bottoms and along the Kaskaskia and Illinois rivers”

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;

Mound builders, Illinois Native Americans, Kaskaskia Indians, Archaeology, Illinois River, ebooks online

Illinois Indians

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

Jacksonville, Ill., 1834
Wakefield, John AllenGo to Book

(title continued) ” …and Parts of Other Disaffected Tribes of Indians, in the Years Eighteen Hundred and Twenty-Seven, Thirty-One, and Thirty-Two”

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

Winnebago War, Black Hawk War, Winnebago Indian tribe, Ho-Chunk Indians, Native American history, military history free ebooks

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

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Warren, Robert E.Go to Article

“Illinois Indians in the Illinois Country”

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Warren, Robert E.Go to Article

Indians of the Chicago Region

Chicago: Winslow 1946
Winslow, Charles Spaulding, ed.Go to Book

Chapter headings are:

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

See other Illinois pages on this website for works about Native Americans, especially the pages entitled “Biographies & Memoirs”, “General History”, “Religion”, “Fiction”, and “War & Military”.


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