When Marquette and Joliet first encountered the Illiniwek in the
late Seventeenth Century, these tribes numbered over 20,000 souls.
Nowhere now does a single full-blood Illinois Indian exist. It is
to the memory of the Illiniwek Nation that this web site is
HISTORY or THEIRSTORY?
When elementary and high school students are taught American history,
it usually begins with Christobel Columbus and the Nina,
Pinta,and Santa Maria discovering the New World.
Never mind that the Americas already were inhabited by
highly advanced civilizations. With the arrival of Columbus,
official history begins. It should come as no
surprise that great Native American leaders are for the
most part ignored in history classes rooted in the old
Columbus myths. In fact, it is debatable that he was even the first
European to arrive in the Americas. But that is a different
story. The few Native American exceptions to make the history books were the "friends of the whites"--Pochahontas,
Squanto, etc--or "vicious savages"--Pontiac, Crazy Horse.
This site seeks to honor great Native American leaders and patriots and
inasmuch as is possible, present them as they were rather than as
the institutional powers-that-be consider them to have been.
The first great Native American leader and patriot to be presented is
TATANKA YOTANKA whom the Euro-Americans call
Sitting Bull. As overall leader of the Lakota in the Battle of the
Greasy Grass ("Custer's Last Stand" to others), Tatanka Yotanka has
come to symbolize the wise, valorous, venerated spiritual warrior
of the plains. TATANKA YOTANKA was the
last important Lakota leader to surrender to the Americans. To learn more
about this great patriot of the Hunkpapa Lakota, visit the page dedicated to
This great Native American leader grew up in what is now the state of Illinois. He
was the last Native American leader in Illinois to actively fight for his Nation's lands and sovereignty.
Two men destined to later become President of the United States and one who would become President of the Confederate
States of America fought against him. In the end, overwhelming numbers and superior technology
made the outcome inevitable. But by his example, he shows us all that one need
not go quietly when human rights are abused and lands are stolen. This great leader
Ma-ca-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, the man whites call "Black Hawk. Please honor this last great Native American warrior
from Illinois by visiting the Ma-ca-tai-me-she-kia-kiak site.
The famous Tsalagi (Cherokee) leader Sequoyah proved to all that Native Americans can be brilliant
thinkers. The only man to ever invent an entire alphabet from scratch, Sequoyah made his nation
literate at a time when this was unthinkable. A staunch warrior who fought for the United States in the
Creek War of 1813, Sequoyah was no effete intellectual. Because of Sequoyah's gift
of literacy, his Tsalagi people have maintained a strong national identity and are one of the most
populous Native American nations today. Visit Sequoyah.
The great warrior-statesman of the Shawnee, Tecumseh fought against the intrusion of settlers into the Ohio Valley all
of his adult life. First he fought under the great Miami
leader, Michiquinikek (Little Turtle). Then when the great Miami chieftain considered war against the whites
hopeless, Tecumseh became the leader of the Wabash and Ohio
Valley warriors. A noted orator as well as a warrior, Tecumseh faced off with
William Henry Harrison in front of Grouseland, the future President's estate.
Few Native American leaders are so widely respected as
Please return to this site often. Short histories will be added to honor other
great Native American leaders and patriots as time permits.