Talk:Illinois Confederation

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To my vast amazement (I knew of them as the "Illinois confederation", and had never heard of Illiniwek), they do seem to be best known at this name. Google gives:

  • Illiniwek NOT "Chief Illiniwek" NOT University - 1,370
  • "Illini confederacy" - 65
  • "Illinois confederacy" - 212
  • "Illini confederation" - 175
  • "Illinois confederation" NOT labour - 164

(The NOT's in the search above were an attempt to filter out references to the mascot, although I doubt I got them all, or things that were named after him.)

So it's properly named where it is (although I will check that all logical redirects exist, to prevent creation of duplicate articles by other ignorami such as me! Noel (talk) 14:37, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I got here from the page on the state of Illinois, which identifies the name as coming from the Algonquian "tribe of superior men." Here, someone says that's not true, but doesn't give a source. Looking into it, I see that while the initial claim goes all the way back to Marquette (outdated source, perhaps?), the claim that "Illiniwek" is an Ojibwa word is based on recent research (see here: This is according to the Illinois State Museum Society. In any case, I'm inclined to include both etymologies on both pages, but since this is not my area of expertise, I thought I should open it up for discussion. L Glidewell 19:16, 15 December 2006 (UTC)L_Glidewell

The Ojibwa are an "Algonquian" people in the sense of speaking of language of the Algonquian language family, if I'm not mistaken. I don't know which Indians were Marquette's guides during his exploration into Illinois country, but I think he got most or all of his placenames and peoplenames from his guides. They were probably "Algonquian" and I would think Ojibwa, although I'm not sure. I guess my point is that Ojibwa is a subclass of Algonquian. On the other hand, even if Marquette was the first European in Illinois Country, it seems unlikely the French hadn't heard of the Illiniwek through other Indians much earlier. I have a book that might have some info on this, I'll check when I am home again. Pfly 06:59, 17 December 2006 (UTC)
Right, Algonquian's a family. Sorry for the confusing statement. The conflict as I understand it is that it was once believed by many that "Illiniwek" was a transliteration of an Illinois-language word for "superior men." The more recent research (according to the link I cited above) suggests that "Illiniwek" is actually derived from an Ojibwa-language word meaning "those who talk in a normal manner." In other words, the term was borrowed by or applied to the Illinois, but did not originate in their language. Just wanted to clarify. L Glidewell 18:05, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

The link to the Catholic Encyclopedia,
"Illinois Indians". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company.
appears to be broken. I would just remove it, but I just got a Wikipedia account and I'm a bit apprehensive about wielding such power at this point. "adding and correcting links" is considered a minor edit. Is removing a broken link also a minor edit? Astonzia (talk) 19:50, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Change Title to "Illinois Confederation"[edit]

Based on the historical record, the correct title for this article should be "Illinois Confederation." The number of citations in Google is hardly evidence that a particular term is correct. (This is a basic tenet of research.) It only means that the term was used—correctly or otherwise—a particular number of times.

It is possible to cite other wildly incorrect terms that were picked up—often from Wikipedia!—and blindly repeated in other documents and published on the World Wide Web. "Illiniwek" falls into this category; the term is not so widespread in printed sources, particularly those that predate the Internet.

PlaysInPeoria (talk) 21:54, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Tribal Names[edit]

Many well-known tribal names were derived from the often-derogatory names used by neighboring tribes. "Sioux" is a classic example of this phenomenon. The individual tribes in the Illinois Confederation (Peoria, etc.) had names for themselves.

Is there evidence that the individual tribes actually considered themselves as part of a confederation? To some extent, the "confederation," as known today, was defined by dialect. For example, the Illinois and the Miami essentially spoke different dialects of the same language. The sound for "r" in Illinois was replaced by the sound for "l" in Miami.

PlaysInPeoria (talk) 22:06, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

My linguistic work on the names of the Illinois Indians has been grossly misrepresented here. I've fixed it.Djcosta (talk) 02:13, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

How many tribes?[edit]

The lead paragraph says “The Illinois Confederation […] were a group of twelve to thirteen Native American tribes […].” then proceeds to name seventeen of them. So how many were there, and which ones? — Tonymec (talk) 21:49, 28 June 2013 (UTC)