Mascouten

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Mascouten
Total population
descendants are part of the Kickapoo today
Regions with significant populations
Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois
Languages
Algonquian
Related ethnic groups
Piankashaw and Kickapoo

The Mascouten (also Mascoutin, Mathkoutench, or Musketoon) were a tribe of Algonquian-speaking native Americans who are believed to have dwelt on both sides of the Mississippi River adjacent to the present-day Wisconsin-Illinois border after being driven out of Michigan.

They are first mentioned in historic records by French missionaries, who described the people as inhabiting the southern area of present-day Michigan. The Mascouten were more populous than all the Neutral Nation, all the Hurons, and all the Iroquois, put together.[1] In 1712, the Mascouten united with the Kickapoo and the Fox, after almost being exterminated by the French and the Potawatomi.

The Jesuit Relations frequently refer to the Mascouten as the "Fire Nation" or "Nation of Fire".[2][3] However, one Jesuit writes: 'The Fire Nation is erroneously so called, its correct name being Maskoutench, which means “a treeless country,” like that inhabited by these people; but as, by changing a few letters, this Word is made to signify “fire,” therefore the people have come to be called the Fire Nation.'[4]

Survivors migrated westward. The Mascouten are last referred to as a band in historic records in 1779, when they were living on the Wabash River (in present-day Indiana) with the Piankashaw and the Kickapoo. The surviving Mascouten are noted in United States records of 1813 and 1825 as being part of the Kickapoo Prairie Band.

Their name apparently comes from a Fox word meaning "Little Prairie People". Historians do not know what they called themselves (autonym).[5]

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