The Tribes of The Illinois Confederacy
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The Tribes of
The Illinois Confederacy


The Illini Confederation: Lords of the Mississippi Valley

The Illinois Confederacy consisted of Kaskaskia, Peoria, Michigamea, Moingwena, Tamaroa and Cahokia.

At various points in history the tribes merged:
The Cahokia united with the Tamaroa 
Tamaroa united with the Peoria
Peoria united with the Kaskaskia 
Eel River united with the Miami 
Michigamea united the Kaskaskia
Wea and Piankashaw united with the Peoria and Kaskaskia
Pepikokia united with the Wea and Pinkashaw


The Cahokia were one of the leading tribes in the Illinois Confederacy in the early 1700's and were living near the site of present Cahokia, Illinois. They were of the Algonquian linguistic family and were closely associated with the Tamaroa. The name of the tribe was given to the largest prehistoric artificial earth mound in the United States, located about six miles east of St. Louis Missouri in Madison County Illinois.

At the 1818 Treaty of Edwardsville (Illinois), five of the Cahokia chiefs and head men joined others of the Illinois Confederacy tribes in ceding to the United States half of the state of Illinois.  Henceforth, the Cahokia became part of the Kaskaskia and Peoria tribes, and today their descendants may be found in Ottawa County, Oklahoma.

ILLINOIS ("ilinewois")

A member of the confederacy of Algonquian tribes, which included the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Michigamea, Moingwena, Tamaroa and Cahokia. In 1670 the Illinois were located by missionaries in their homeland - southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and along the the west bank of the Mississippi River, south to the Des Moines River in Iowa.

They followed the other Illinois tribes to settle in Kansas in 1832, then in 1867 when the United States wanted to open Kansas to white settlers, they were removed into what is now Ottawa County, Oklahoma.

KASKASKIA ("Kaskaskahamwa")

In 1673 the principal town of this tribe was located near the present site of Utica, La Salle County, Illinois. In 1700 they moved to the mouth of the Kaskaskia River, located in present day Randolph County, Illinois. In 1769 an incident in Cahokia, Illinois between a Kaskaskia warrior and the great Ottawa chief, Pontiac resulted in the death of the chief, tribes from the north (Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo and Potawatomi) swore vengeance and began a war to exterminate the tribe.

The Kaskaskias were parties to at least fifteen treaties with the United States. Under the terms of a treaty made at Vincennes, Indiana on 30 August 1803, the Kaskaskias ceded all of their claims to land in the Illinois Territory in return for the care and protection of the United States "against other Indian tribes". In 1832 they, with the Peoria's, were assigned 150 sections of Kansas lands, and they have since been identified as part of the Peoria tribe.

Treaty With The Kaskaskia, Etc., 1832

MIAMI ("Twa'h twa'h")

The name Miami is from the Chippewa term Omaumet, "people who live on the peninsula." The Miami call themselves Twa'h twa'h, "the cry of the crane," from which was adapted the name "Twightwees" used by early writers referring to this tribe of the Algonquian linguistic family. 

In the mid-1600's this tribe was identified as living in the vicinity of present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin. Unlike other tribes of the region, the Miami's traveled by land rather than by canoes. 

Early 1700 the Miami migrated from their original home to northeastern Illinois, northern Indiana, and western Ohio, where three rivers have been named for them. They were considered the owners of the Wabash River region in Indiana and a large part of western Ohio.

The Greenville Treaty of 1795 was signed by the chiefs of four Miami bands, including the "Eel River Tribe" whose reservation in Boone County, Indiana, was sold to the United States in 1828, and who were thereafter considered to be members of the Miami tribe. 

In 1840 the Miami ceded the last of their tribal lands in Indiana and agreed to move within five years to a reservation assigned them in Miami County, Kansas. In 1848 they established their village on the east bank of the Marais des Cygnes River in the southern part of present Miami County. Both the Roman Catholic and the Baptist churches established missions near this village.

The February 23, 1967 treaty abolished tribal membership for those Miami who wished to become citizens of Kansas to remain there; the rest were to be moved to the Indian Territory "and confederated with the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea, and Piankashaw." After many delays, 72 of the Miami settled in Indian Territory where they were known "as the "United Peoria and Miamis" by provisions of the act of March 3, 1973. "The history of the Miami since that time has been that of the Peoria".

In 1885 only 57 Miami were officially listed at the Quapaw Agency, Indian Territory. 

The Miami tribe lives in Ottawa County, Oklahoma "as a part of the Confederated Peoria," the name of Miami being named for the tribe. The Miami are connected with the Quapaw Sub agency in Oklahoma. 

NOTE: I have recieved a correction to the information posted above. I could simply correct the mis-information but I feel it very important that everyone hear the truth from a reliable source, Tribal member Sammye Darling, USGenWeb Archivist, Ottawa Co. OK, Nations, Miami Tribe. Sammye writes.....

"It is so difficult to cull the factual from the fanciful that it is certainly understandable that one who is not directly connected to the Miami may be confused about the truth of the material that is available. The reality of the "Confederated Peorias and Miamis" is that the US government told us (Miami) we could confederate with the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankeshaw & Wea upon moving to IT. However, we never confederated, choosing to continue with our own governmental structure & remaining a separate entity, eventually writing our on constitution. We also had separate Indian census reports in the Quapaw Agency. Although my Webster's dictionary states that we are "extinct" I can assure you that we are alive and well in Miami Oklahoma at nearly 3,000 strong. As a recognized genealogist for the Miami tribe I can tell you that even though many our members have switched back & forth between the two groups over the years we have always remained two distinct but related Tribes".

The portions above in bold letters and "quotation" marks are the UNTRUE statements. I want to say "Thank You" Sammye and, kikweesitoole.


Grant County Indiana



Michigamea, from which Lake Michigan is derived, is said to be properly Mishigamaw, "the great water" or "big lake".

The Michigamea, formerly one of the tribes of the Illinois Confederacy, are of the Algonquian linguistic family. Their original home was near the headwaters of the Sangomon River in Illinois.

Descendants of the Michigamea can be found among the mix-blood Indians of the confederated Peoria in Ottawa County, Oklahoma.

Under pressure of enemies from the north, including the Sioux, the Michigamea migrated at an early date from Illinois to a large lake in what is now northeastern Arkansas, where they were found by Marquette in 1673. About 1700 they were driven from this region by their enemies, among whom were the Chickasaw, and returned to Illinois. They soon joined the Kaskaskia with whom they later identified in history.


The name Moingwena or Moins was applied to this tribe by the French from the name of their village, Moingona, "at the road". Thought to reference the well-known Indian trial leading from the head of the lower rapids to the village of Moingona at the mouth of the Des Moines River, near the present town of Montrose, Lee County, Iowa.

Marquette in 1673 reported the Moingwena, an Algonquian linguistic family, living on the west side of the Mississippi Rover near the Peoria, in the Des Moines River region. Afterward the Moingwena lost their tribal identity and became a part of the Confederated Peoria whose descendants can be found living in Ottawa County, Oklahoma.


The name was applied to the Peoria by the French, a personal name rendered by them as Peouarea, from the Peoria trial expression piwares, "he comes carrying a pack on his back."

Formerly one of the principal tribes of the Illinois Confederacy belong to the Algonquian linguistic family. Historically they lived near the mouth of the Wisconsin River in the general region of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, some tribal bands being found in the latter part of the seventeenth century southward on the Mississippi in present Illinois and Iowa.

In 1670 the Peoria were moving southward from the Wisconsin River. Three years later a tribal band living near the Moingwena at the mouth of the Des Moines River moved over to the east side of the Mississippi in the vicinity of present day Peoria, Illinois. Their enemies, including the Kickapoo and the Fox, began a war of extermination against the Illinois tribes, after the French and Indian War. A part of the Peoria with some of the Wea settled on the Blackwater Fork near St. Genevieve, Missouri. The main part of the Peoria remained on the Illinois River.

From their first treaty with the United States in 1818, the Peoria were united with the Kaskaskia. In 1832, the treaty resulted in the remnants of five tribes of the Illinois Confederacy giving up their land claims in Illinois and Missouri to the United States. A tract of 150 sections on the Osage River was assigned to the Peoria and the Kaskaskia, extending east from the Wea and Piankashaw reserve in present Miami County, Kansas. Here the Peoria prospered under the influence of the Roman Catholic mission.

In 1849, the great influx of white settlers soon saw the Peoria and Kaskaskia joining their neighbors, the Wea and Piankashaw, to form a confederated tribe for mutual benefit and welfare. This confederation also counted among its members the descendants and last remnants of the Chaokia, Moingwena, Michigamea and Tamaroa, who had become a part of the Peoria many year before, as well as the Pepikokia, who had joined the Wea and Piankashaw in the later part of the eighteenth century.

An 1851 Indian agent reported the Peoria and Kaskaskia and allied tribes had practically lost their identity through intermarriage among themselves and with white people. A 1854 treaty officially recognized this union of tribes, thereafter referred to as the Confederated Peoria. The treaty provided for the opening of the Peoria-Kaskaskia and the Wea-Piankashaw reserves.

The organization of the state of Kansas in 1861 found the Indian tribes being harassed by illegal taxation of their property and inequalities under the state laws. Many of the Indians lost their individual land holdings within a few years. The government pushed its plan to remove all the Indian tribes from Kansas to the Indian Territory by the close of the Civil War. 

The Omnibus Treaty, filled with complicated terms which named ten tribes in Kansas was signed at Washington on February 23, 1867. [bottom of treaty includes Names of settlers, Nos. of land and price thereof, together with the amount deposited by each settler on the ten-section reserve, in Miami County, Kansas.]

The new reservation of 72,000 acres lay west and south of the Quapaw in present Ottawa County, the land having been purchased partly from the Quapaw and partly from the Seneca and Shawnee. Fifty-five Peoria remained in Kansas to become citizens of that state.

In 1873, Congress enacted a law providing fr the union of the Miami of Kansas with the Confederated Peoria, under the title of United Peoria and Miami. Members of this united group were predominately of mixed-blood Indian and white descent. 

The Peoria and Miami lands in Oklahoma were allotted in 1893, and the excess given to Ottawa County in 1907. By the 1930s both the Oklahoma and Indiana Miami were completely landless, although the Oklahoma tribe has since acquired 160 acres which are held in trust. The United Peoria were terminated in 1950 but restored to federal status in 1972. The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma never lost its federal recognition, something the Indiana Miami have never been able to regain.

Miami Indian Cemetery- located in Grant County, Indiana


The name is said to be from the Illinois term tamarowa, "cut tail," having reference to a totemic animal, perhaps the bear or the wildcat.

The Tamaroa were one of the tribes of the Illinois Confederacy of the Algonquian linguistic family. In 1680 the Tamaroa lived on both sides of the Mississippi River at the mouths of the Illinois and the Missouri rivers. Their friendship with the French made the Chickasaw and the Shawnee their enemies, both tribes waging a continual war on the Tamaroa. 

Two Tamaroa leaders signed the treaty of 1818 by which the Illinois tribes, including the Peoria, ceded approximately half of the present Illinois to the United States. The name of the Tamaroa is listed in the treaty made with the Kaskaskia and the Peoria at Castor Hill, St. Louis County, Missouri on October 27, 1832. Thereafter the Tamaroa became a part of the Peoria and descendants may be found in Ottawa County, Oklahoma.

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Linda Simpson
Updated: 6 May 2006
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