Anthropology 288: History 288: American Indians of Illinois

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Anthropology 288:

History 288:

American Indians of Illinois

Prof. Brenda Farnell, Anthropology (

Prof. Frederick Hoxie, History (
Teaching Assistant:

Phil Millhouse, Anthropology (

Lectures: 106B Engineering Hall, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12 noon.

Discussion Sections: Friday 1:00 or 2:00 in 132 Davenport Hall

General Description.

This course provides an introduction to American Indian peoples of the Illinois region, present and past, from the perspectives of sociocultural anthropology, history and archaeology. We will examine contemporary as well as historical experiences of Native Americans in the lands that we now know as “Illinois” and reflect on the meaning of those experiences in the present day. During the semester students will encounter new information about Native Americans and learn to employ a variety of methods of investigation. Students will be asked to reflect critically on how different academic disciplines and approaches document and present Native American life in the Illinois region. This will be a lecture and discussion course but it will include archaeological field site and museum visits and guest lectures by Native American scholars and community members.

Course Requirements.

  1. Successful completion of three written assignments (one for each major segment of the course). These assignments will be due February 24, March 30 and May 10th. Late papers will be graded down at the discretion of the instructors. (Each assignment comprises 20% of total grade)

  2. Weekly postings on the class website (250 word minimum) on the weeks readings (20% of total grade). Please post by 7pm each Thursday in preparation for your discussion section on Friday. You may substitute postings on the following topics on two occasions if you prefer:

    1. A report on a public event you attended that focuses on American Indian people or American Indian cultures.

    2. A report on a news story relevant to American Indians of Illinois.

    3. A report on an American Indian organization in Illinois.

  3. Regular attendance at lectures and active participation in discussion section meetings. A total of four absences TOTAL will be allowed in sections and lectures. Students with more than four total absences will find their grades reduced at the discretion of the instructors. (20% of total grade)

Cahokia: City of Sun. Collinsville, IL. Cahokia Mounds Museum Society. 3rd Printing. 1992.
Discover Illinois Archaeology. Springfield, IL. Illinois Association for Advancement of Archaeology and Illinois Archaeological Survey. 2001.
Donald Jackson, editor, Black Hawk: An Autobiography. Urbana, IL. University of Illinois Press, 1964.
Nancy Lurie. Mountain Wolf Woman. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961.
Susan Power, Roofwalker. New York: Milkweed Editions, 2002.
Carol Spindel, Dancing At Halftime: Sports and the Controversy Over American Indian Mascots. New York. New York University Press, 2000.
Terry Straus, Native Chicago, 2nd Edition. Chicago. Albatross Publishers. 2002
Helen Hornbeck Tanner, Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. (University of Oklahoma Press, 1987). Paperback edition

Class and Assignment Schedule


Tuesday, January 20: Overview of “American Indian Peoples of Illinois.”

Thursday, January 22: No Lecture today – NB. Class meets tomorrow at 12 instead.
Friday, January 23: 12:00: Guest lecture: “We Are Still Here: American Indians in Chicago.” Guest Speaker: Joseph Podlasek, Director, Chicago American Indian Center. University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street.
Friday, January 23: Discussion: What do you know about American Indians? How do you know it?
Reading Assignment:

Straus, Native Chicago, ix-27. “Chicago Dream,” “Introduction,” “Preface,” and “Native Americans in the Chicago Area.”

Spindel, Dancing At Halftime, 1-37. “Home Game” “”The Controversy” “Myth and Mascot.”
Note: The exhibit, “50 Years of Pow Wow,” organized in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Chicago American Indian Center, opens at the Spurlock Museum Tuesday, January 27- June 26th.

Archaeology and Knowledge Production

Tuesday, January 27: What is Archaeology? What are its Methods?

Thursday, January 29: The Case of the “Grand Village of the Kaskaskias”

Guest Speaker: Dr. Thomas E. Emerson, Director, Illinois Transportation Archaeological Program, ITARP.

Friday, January 30: Discussion:

Who were the Kaskaskias?

What can archaeology tell us about them?

What does archaeology miss? So what?

Reading and Web Assignments:

H.J. Shaffer, “Goals of Archaeological Investigation,” in Field Methods in Archaeology.

Thomas Emerson, “Report on the Grand Village of the Illinois,” Chapters 1 and 2.


Tuesday, February 3: First Americans, Paleo-Indians and Archaic Foragers
Thursday, February 5: Video: The First Americans
Friday, February 6: Discussion

How do we understand Paleo Indians?

Were they “Indians?” Why?

How do Paleo Indians and Archaic Foragers “fit” into the history of global civilizations?

Reading and Web Assignments:

Discover Illinois Archaeology, to p.7.
“The First Americans,” Newsweek, April 26, 1999.
AIIOP Website sections on Paleo and Archaic Peoples.


Tuesday, February 10: Woodland Mound Builders—Overview
Thursday, February 12: Guest Speakers: Robert Salzer and Chloris Lowe, “Archaeologists and Native Americans: The Gottschal Rock Shelter of Wisconsin as a Case Study.”
Friday, February 13: Discussion

What distinguished the Woodland-era peoples?

How do we “distinguish” Woodland-era “Mound Builders?”

How do our methods shape our perceptions of Woodlands peoples?

Reading Assignment:

Discover Illinois Archaeology, 8-9.
Thomas Emerson, “A Retrospective Look at the Earliest Woodland Cultures in the American Heartland,” in Early Woodland Cultures.
Thomas Emerson, D.L. McElrath and A.C. Fortier, Late Woodland Societies: Tradition and Transformation Across the Midcontinent. (selections)
T. J. Riley, “Joseph Smith, Zelph’s Mound and the Armies of Zion.”
R. Silverberg, Mound Builders of Ancient America: The Archaeology of a Myth (selections)


Tuesday, February 17: Mississippian Peoples: Who Were They? How Do We Know?
Thursday, February 19: Cahokia, The Great Native American Metropolis

Guest Speaker: Dr. Timothy Pauketat, UIUC Anthropology Dept.

Friday, February 20: Discussion:

What set Mississippians apart from other peoples?

What impact did Mississippians have on the history of Illinois?

What are the major explanations for the rapid rise of Cahokia?

Which make the most sense? Why?

Cahokia is a “World Heritage Site.” So what?

Reading Assignment:

Discover Illinois, 10-13.
Cahokia: City of Sun. Collinsville, IL. Cahokia Mounds Museum Society. 1992.
Timothy Pauketat, Thomas Emerson, “Introduction. Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World,” in Cahokia: Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World.
W. R. Iseminger, “Mighty Cahokia,” Archaeology, 49(3): 30-37.
B. Young and M. L. Fowler, Cahokia: The Great Native American Metropolis , Chapters 6, 9, 19.
D.D. Benn, “Woodland People and the Roots of Oneota,” in Oneota: Archaeology Past, Present and Future.
Thomas Emerson and James Brown, “The Late Prehistory and Protohistory of Illinois,” in Calumet and Fleur-De-Lys.
W. Green, “Middle Mississippian Peoples,” Wisconsin Archaeologist 78(1 & 2) 203-222.

Written Assignment #1: Select a museum that has an exhibit of prehistoric Native Americans or a gallery of displays on Native American culture. Prepare a critical evaluation of this display drawing particularly on the readings, lectures and discussions of the past five weeks. Papers should be printed in 12pt fonts or larger, double-spaced and should be turned in at the beginning of class on February 24. Papers should be 1,000-2,000 words in length.

The Historical Period and the Production of Historical Knowledge

Tuesday, February 24: Historians and American Indians: Stereotypes and National History.

(**Written Assignment #1 Due in Class**)
Thursday, February 26: First Contacts on “The Middle Ground”
Friday, February 27: Discussion

What explains historians’ perspectives on American Indian history?

What distinctive aspects of Illinois history might affect the outlook of historians?

What significant events happened at Starved Rock? Which do we remember? Why?

Is the list of historic markers on the Illinois State Historical Society website a significant document? Why?
Reading and Web Assignments:

Eaton G. Osman, Starved Rock: A Chapter of Colonial History (1911) (excerpts)

“Seneca Bead Maker” in Starved Rock: The Birthplace of Illinois (1956)
Carl O. Sauer, Starved Rock State Park and its Environs (1918)
Spindel, Dancing at Half-Time,38-69 “Races of Living Things,” “Starved Rock” (This section of the AIIOP website provides various versions of the Legend of Starved Rock). (This is the Illinois State Historical Society web page. Among other features, it contains a list of all historical markers in the state. Click on “Markers.”) Read through this list and think about its relationship to the topics discussed this week. (This is the website of the Illinois Association for the Advancement of Archaeology. Review its publications and programs. Why do no Illinois Indians appear to be involved in its programs?)
Helen Hornbeck Tanner, The Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History -to p. 29.


Tuesday, March 2: The Long War for the Ohio Country, 1754-1795.

Thursday, March 4: Guest Speakers: Eileen H. Iron Cloud and Paul Robertson, “Lakota History and American Colonization”
Friday, March 5: Discussion:

What were the principle cultural differences between the French and the Native People they first encountered in Illinois in the 17th century?

What could the two groups understand about each other?

What did they miss about each other?

What historical forces were most important in shaping events in the Illinois country?

What people (individuals?, groups such as women?, certain occupations?) were most important in shaping events in the Illinois country?

Reading Assignment:

Tanner, Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History, pp.29-85 This is the website of a remarkable collection of documents related to early contacts between the French and Indians in the Illinois country. Read the first four documents, then read at least two more of your choice, either from the section on the French regime or from other sections having to do with the American revolution and its aftermath.


March 9: Guest Speaker: Helen Hornbeck Tanner, “The Enduring Great Lakes Indians.”

March 11: Guest Speaker: Dr. Bea Medicine. Topic TBA

Friday, March 12: Discussion

What was the Greenville Treaty?

Was the treaty a defeat for Indians in the Ohio Country?

Was it a victory?

What is the role of treaties in Illinois Indian history?

Reading and Web Assignments: This is the text of the Greenville Treaty.
Tanner, Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History, pp. 96-121.
Straus, Native Chicago , pp.31-67, 78-111 (“The Founding Fathers,” “Father Pinet and the Mission of the Guardian Angel,” and “Red and Black Slaves in the Illinois Territory.”)
See this commentary on early treaties in the Illinois country:
Jackson, Black Hawk – begin reading.

Tuesday, March 16: Who Was Black Hawk?

Thursday, March 18: The Aftermath
Friday, March 19: Discussion:

What does Black Hawk teach us about himself?

What does Black Hawk teach us about American history?

What can we believe in Black Hawk? Why?

Reading and Web Assignments:

Tanner, Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History, pp. 121-182.

Jackson, Black Hawk, -complete reading

March 20-29: Spring Break

Week of March 29: No Lectures. Field trip to Cahokia and American Bottom Sites on Saturday April 3rd.
April 2: Writing Assignment #2 Due at Discussion Class. Select an historic site, museum display, roadside marker or classroom text that addresses a significant person or event in the post-contact history of Native Americans in present-day Illinois. Prepare an evaluation of 1,000-2,000 words on your selection, drawing particularly on the readings and lectures in this course. As was true of Assignment #1, papers should be printed in 12pt fonts or larger and double spaced.

Contemporary Voices and Visions: Cultural Anthropology’s Knowledge Production

A. Identity and Representation

Tuesday, April 6: Who is an American Indian? Who Decides? Native Peoples in/from Illinois Today.

Thursday, April 8: Problems of Representation – anthropology and popular culture.

Friday, April 9: Discussion

Who should be classified an “American Indian/Native American?” Why?

What has happened to the population since 1950?

What are some of the problems with US census figures?

Reading Assignment:

Polly Strong and B. Van Winkle, “Indian Blood: Reflections on the Reckoning and Refiguring of Native North American Identity,” Cultural Anthropology 11(4): 547-76.

Straus, Native Chicago 111-118, 137-212. 437-470. (“Indians on the Chicago Landscape, 1870,” “The Red Man in the White City,” “Relocation’s Imagined Landscape,” “Relocation,” “Urbanization of a Rural Population,” and “The History of the American Indian Center Princess,” “Indian or Not?” “Black Native Americans in Chicago,” and “Census 2000: Changes in American Indian Population of Chicago.”)

B. American Indian Women and Community Issues

Tuesday, April 13: American Indian Women: Telling Their Lives.

Thursday, April 15: Political and Economic Issues in Illinois: Guest Speaker, Pam Alfonso, Chicago Native Community.
Friday, April 16: Discussion

Why are Native American women frequently overlooked by outside observers?

What roles do American Indian women in Illinois play in their communities?

How do external conditions affect gender roles in Indian communities?

What is the significance of Mountain Wolf Woman as a method of telling lives?
Reading Assignment:

Nancy Lurie, Mountain Wolf Woman, Sister of Crashing Thunder: The Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian

Straus, Native Chicago , 67-77, 118-136, 369-72. (“Founding Mothers, “Monee,” “Community and Organizing”)
Rayna Green, “The Pocahantas Perplex: The Image of Indian Women in Popular Culture,” Massachusetts Review 16:698-714.

Gretchen Bataille, Kay Sands, “Culture Change and Continuity; a Winnebago Life,” and “Traditional Values in Modern Context: The Narratives to Come,” American Indian Women: Telling Their Lives 71-82, 127-141.

Straus, Native Chicago,337-341 “The Nation in the City.”

C. Sacred Lands, Ancestors’ Remains and Sovereignty

Tuesday, April 20: The Miami Land Claim:

Thursday, April 22: Protecting Sacred Sites

Guest Speaker: Ivan Dozier, USDA and Midwest SOARRING (Saving Our Ancestors’ Remains and Resources Indigenous Network)

Friday, April 23: Discussion

What American Indian grievances can American law address?

What grievances cannot be addressed in U.S. Courts?

How do Illinois Indians respond to their legal standing and aspirations?

Reading Assignment:

Straus, Native Chicago, 399-437. (“Human Rights,” “Ghosts of the Prairie,” and “Indian Land in Illinois.”

Mann, Earth Mother and Prayerful Children: Sacred Sites and Religious Freedom. In Native Voices: American Indian Identity and Resistance. R. Grounds, G Tinker and D. Wilkins (eds.) U of Kansas Press, 2003.
See AIIOP Website for treaty documents and Miami Land Claim legal briefs.

D. The Power of Expressive Culture

Tuesday, April 27: Constructing Identities through Literature: Guest Speaker: Susan Power, novelist and author.

Thursday, April 29: Constructing Identities through Music, Dance, Story. Guest Speaker: Larry Lockwood

Friday: April 30: Discussion

How does a cultural anthropological perspective construct American Indian identities in Illinois?

What forces support Native American cultural activity in Illinois? What undermines it?

What can a cultural anthropological perspective offer that the law, policy and economic development cannot?
Reading Assignment:

Susan Power, Roofwalker

Charlotte Heth, “American Indian Dance: A Celebration of Survival and Adaptation,” in Native American Dance, 1-17.
Straus, Native Chicago, 272-288, 335-336, 508-522 (“History and Public Image,” “Red Path Theater,” “Cycles”).
Spindel, Dancing at Half Time, 141-288

Tuesday, May 5: Panel Discussion: What Do We Know? What Do We Teach?

Writing Assignment #3: Final Project. Choose a place in Illinois—a town, a region, a neighborhood, a historic site. Write a description of how that place might be interpreted in order to incorporate the history and culture of Native Americans, past and present. As was true of Assignments #1 and #2, papers should be printed in 12pt fonts or larger and double-spaced and should not exceed 2,000 words.

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