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Newspaper Clippings for
August, 1967

from Lakeland Newspapers 3 August 1967
Red Man Leaves Antioch Sadly
Antioch's earliest white citizens, the people who inhabited the area which was to become Antioch, knew the red man well.
Theirs was a living experience passed on by word of mouth to succeeding generations. Today we must rely on the written word for recollections of the Indian.
In the land of Che-Ca-Gou, (Chicago) the heritage of the red man is tied to strange sounding names of places, scattered arrowhead collections, and traveling authentic Indians who are perhaps better quick-change artists than dancers. It's almost as though the forces of history dodged the hunting grounds of the Mitchegamies and other numerous Algonquin tribes of the midwest, or at least the writers of history seem to have been much more inclined to immortalize the tribes of the northeast who got caught up in the colonial struggles of this country, and the Indians of the southwest whose demise signaled the end of the "Age of the Indian." The middle has been excluded, or so the movies and general histories would have us believe.
The truth is that the midwest, was occupied by the Indians for hundreds of years before the first settlers arrived, and the Northern Illinois area was a hub of activity for the red man before it became one for the white man. The ebb and flow of Indian tribes across the prairies and woodlands of Illinois was frequent, often violent, and was the result of pressures created by both Indian and white man. Before the great white tidal wave washed them away, the Indians of Illinois farmed, fished, fought, and fed on the riches of the land. Some were wanderers by nature, moving across Illinois during their lifelong journey, while others were dispossessed by warlike neighbors with the result that Illinois experienced a rich and varied Indian history.
The Indians of Illinois were primarily of the Algonquin nation, though many different tribes of that larger group took turns as the dominant group in Illinois. Among these smaller subdivisions of the Algonquin nation were the Sacs, Foxes, Miamis, Kickapoos and the Winnebagoes. In terms of the amount of time spent in this state, the Illinois tribes and the Potawatomis were the most important.
When the first white men arrived in this state more than 100 years before the Revolutionary War, the tribes of the Illinois Indians were well established. A huge settlement on the Illinois River in what is now LaSalle County had an estimated 460 permanent lodges and a population of 5,000.
The Illinois were peaceful Indians who lived by farming, fishing, and hunting. The area they controlled is thought to have included all of northeastern Illinois.
As early as 1660, however, the fierce and vigorous Iroquois, who were among the most formidable of all Indians, chased their enemies the Hurons and Wyandots, across the land of the Illinois. The warlike Iroquois came all the way from New York in pursuit of their enemies, and they didn't hesitate to pick a fight with the Illinois either. In 1680, soon after explorers LaSalle and Tonty arrived in the area, a party of Iroquois warriors ransacked the great Illinois River settlement and began the period of decline of the Illinois Indians which culminated in the massacre at Starved Rock in 1770.
During the first half of the 18th century the Illinois were still found throughout central and southern Illinois, but they were beleaguered by the Iroquois on the east and the Sioux on the west.
Another tribe from the west, the Miamis, moved into the area around Chicago and northern Illinois around 1690, where they remained for about 20 years holding off the Iroquois and other invading tribes, including the Sioux.
Some of the favorite hunting grounds of the Miamis included the area of what is now Lake County. The Miamis were more warlike than their cousins, the Illinois, and they not only secured the area of northern Illinois, but also moved eastward into Indiana and Ohio. They left the western shore of Lake Michigan in 1720.
The great Ottawa Chief Pontiac was assassinated in 1769 by a member of the Kaskaskian tribe, which was a smaller subdivision of the Illinois. The Ottawas and the Potawatomis, who revered Pontiac, took their revenge on the Illinois Indians at Starved Rock, where a bloody massacre exterminated all but 11 of the Illinois. It is from the year 1770 that the occupation and control of the Illinois territory by the Potawatomis is usually dated. The proud and haughty Potawatomis had been entrenched in the Green Bay area in the latter 1600's, but like others, they roamed far and wide. In 1763 the Potawatomis were large and strong enough to send a 450 man delegation to the Algonquin council in Niagara Falls.
Potawatomis of the Illinois territory adopted a somewhat different way of life than their parent tribes from Michigan and Indiana. The Potawatomis of this area became known as the "prairie band", as opposed to the woodland Indians. They despised the tilling of the soil and wouldn't even permit their women to farm. Instead the Potawatomis led a somewhat nomadic existence, moving from hunting ground to hunting ground and setting up tepee villages.
The tepees had a hole at the top for smoke to escape. The sides and floor were made of rushes woven into mats, and beds were of deer skin and buffalo hides. They spurned the white man's religion and had been described earlier by the missionary Jacques Marquette as idolatrous and polygamous, but hospitable.
In the first two decades of the 19th century, the Potawatomis must have been able to lead a reasonably free life, as far as the encroachments of the white man were concerned. They fought on the side of the British during the War of 1812, though they were allied to the American settlers during the Blackhawk War of 1832.
The Potawatomis participated in the treaty of 1821 at Chicago which ceded 500,000 acres of territory in Michigan to the white man.
In 1833 the final treaty with the Indians who inhabited the state of Illinois was consummated in Chicago, as 5,000 Indians encamped around the already famous trading outpost, mingling with traders, creditors, curiosity seekers, and negotiators. After several weeks, during which the lot of the Indians grew worse from the effects of drinking and inactivity, the treaty was finally agreed upon, and the Indians had to forfeit a great deal of the money involved to creditors and negotiators. They agreed to leave the lands of Illinois immediately and were given three years to evacuate their lands in southern Wisconsin.
This was virtually the end of the line for the Indians of our state, but small groups continued to hunt and live in the areas in the extreme northern part of the state.
In her "Journal," Mary Elizabeth Story Howard reveals that her family encountered Indians when they first lived in the Antioch area, which was in the 1840's. The Indians would kill a deer, skin it, and leave the hind quarters in front of the cabin for the settlers to eat. They were furtive, but friendly, as it must have been clear to them, though they couldn't accept it, that they somehow didn't belong there anymore. And they didn't, because for some reason the country wasn't big enough in those days for both red man and white man to live side by side.
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