Native Peoples of Illinois
Feb 10, 2016 3:41 PM -
Long before Europeans "discovered" the Americas, indigenous people commonly referred to as Native Americans populated what is now the United States of America. Today, less than 2 percent of the country's population identifies as Native American. Yet, despite their small numbers compared to the general population, contributions from Native American culture helped shape and define present day Illinois. Native Americans have lived in the Midwest, including the portion that became the state of Illinois, for at least 10,000 years. In 1673, French explorers and missionaries met Native American tribes living in what the French called "the Illinois country." The name, Illinois, comes from the French translation for Illiniwek. The French built forts along the principal river of the region, which they also called "Illinois." By 1835, less than 200 years later, all native tribes had been removed from the newly established State. However, the name Illinois remained. Join the Geneva Library Foundation and its guest, Meg Bero, as it journeys to the past for a look at the history and culture of Native Americans in our state.