Glossary of Ethnographic and Archaeological Terms

Glossary of Ethnographic and Archaeological Terms Associated with the Contact Period in the North American Midwest.

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Parkland College
Champaign, Illinois

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abrader [n]
A lithic artifact, usually of sandstone, used for sanding/abrading other bone, wood, or stone tools. They occur in various grades ranging from fine to coarse.

adaptation [n]
An adjustment or modification of the structure or behavior of a society that makes it more reproductively successful in its environment.

agriculture [n]
A subsistence strategy involving both domesticated plants and animals. Technologically it involves the use of the plow and a non-human source of energy for powering it.

Algonquian [n]
A family of languages spoken by American Indians who lived historically in an area extending from Labrador westward to the Rocky Mountains, and southward from Michigan to Illinois.

animism [n]
The belief by the Inoca that all people, objects, and places had transcendent or spiritual properties and identities. The spiritual properties and identities were known as manitous. See manitou.

anthropology [n]
The modern scientific study of humankind as a creature expressing both biological and cultural influences.

archaeological culture [n]
A reconstruction of a past culture based on what survives from the then living or anthropological culture.

archaeological site [n]
A place on the landscape containing the material remains of one or more former human occupations, including camp sites, villages, burial mounds, and ceremonial centers. When a site is recorded by an archaeologist, it is given a name and a catalog number. For example, the Zimmerman site, a village occupied historically by the Kaskaskia Inoca indians, is named for the Zimmerman family, which owned the land when the site was excavated in 1947. The Zimmerman site is also identified in a state-wide site catalog maintained by the Illinois State Museum as site 11LS13. This code indicates that Zimmerman is located in the State of Illinois (alphabetically, Illinois is the 11th of the 48 contiguous states in the United States), it is located in La Salle County (code=LS), and it was the 13th site recorded by archaeologists in that county.

archaeology [n]
The scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their material cultural residues: garbage, artifacts, writings, burials, and such.

arpent [Fr., n]
A French unit of distance equivalent to 192 English feet or 180 French feet.

art [n]
Objects created by humans that have aesthetic value or express symbolic meaning, including drawings, paintings, and sculpture.

artifact [n]
The physical or material expression of an idea. Any object made or altered by a human for use.



bardache [Fr., n]
Frequently described in French accounts are a social category of biological males raised as females and living out their lives in female gender roles. Sometimes known as "two spirits" they were considered to posses unusual spiritual qualities.

baril [Fr., n]
A French unit of volume equivalent to 40 pots or 20 gallons U.S..

bateau [Fr., n]
Keelboat. A roughly built, shallow draft, freight boat that had a keel. The keel allowed the vessel to be sailed into the wind.

biface [n]
Literally two (bi-) face (sides). A term typically used to describe flaked chert knives, dart points, spear points and arrowheads.

Black Robe [n]
The name applied to Jesuit missionaries by the Inoca and others. See Jesuit.

Brown Robe [n]
The name applied to Franciscan missionaries by the Inoca and others. See Recollet.

bustard [n]
A name given by early French explorers and missionaries to a large water bird, probably the Canada goose (Branta canadensis).



cabine [Fr., n]
The term employed by the French for identifying the houses of the Inoca and other tribes of the region. It implies a relatively small, simple structure of sturdy construction. See also long house and wigwam.

Cahokia [n]
A tribe of American Indians that formed part of the Inoca Nation (see Inoca). In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Cahokia tribe occupied the central portion of the Inoca territory along the Mississippi River in the American Bottom region of southwestern Illinois. Members of the tribe occupied the first terrace of Monks Mound, a large prehistoric earthen mound in the American Bottom, from 1725-1752 (River L'Abbe Mission site). The Cahokia were later absorbed by the Peoria tribe. Today, their descendents are represented by the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

calumet [n]
A long, ornamented tobacco pipe used by American Indians on ceremonial occasions, often as a symbol of peace. Typically adorned with the heads, necks, and feathers of birds. More broadly it refers to the ceremony associated with the pipe's use.

canons [Fr., n]
The name applied by the French to glass trade beads that were long and tubular. See "rassade."

canoe [n]
A watercraft of Native American design that consisted of a lashed stick frame covered by the bark of either the paper birch or the American elm. The bark panels would be laced together and then sealed with pine or spruce pitch. It was pointed at both ends. Extremely light weight and stable, it could be rendered for one to a dozen or more occupants. Employed by Native Americans to the north and east of Illinois, it was quickly adopted by the French. The Inoca used dugouts.

Catlinite [n]
A red pipestone, composed of hardened clay, that was carved by American Indians to create pipes, pendants, and other objects. Catlinite was named for George Catlin (1796-1872), the American painter, who described the quarry location in southern Minnesota. Other sources of pipestone from the Midwest are now known to archaeologists.

ceramics or pottery [n]
Ceramics or pottery consists of clay, water, and a tempering medium. The three ingredients are mixed together, the object is shaped, it is allowed to dry and give up the water, and it is then fired. Firing means the item's temperature is raised above the point of vitrification so that the individual particles of clay are fused together. The result is that after the vessel cools, the clay will no longer dissolve to mud when exposed to water. The technical knowledge and skills of ceramic production were the exclusive province of Inoca women. Many traditions are recognized archaeologically and are classified on the basis of raw material, technology, and motif. The ceramics of the Inoca women are known as the Danner Tradition.

Cheperasea [n]
One of the ten tribes of the Inoca listed by LaSalle in 1682.

chert [n]
A sedimentary mineral rich in silicon dioxide. It is the "flint" of North America and was extensively used in the production of flaked stone tools like knives and arrowheads.

chief [n]
See either peace chief or war chief.

Chinkon [n]
One of the ten tribes of the Inoca listed by LaSalle in 1682.

Coiraccentanon [n]
One of the ten tribes of the Inoca listed by LaSalle in 1682.

collier de porcelaine [Fr., n]
A necklace or belt of beads rendered from shell (wampum). The device had great symbolic meaning and was employed in both ceremonies and inter-tribal communication.

conge [Fr., n]
The French term for the license granted for trade with the Indians of the Upper Country.

council [n]
An assembly of people meeting to consult, deliberate, or advise on a certain issue. A common form of governance among Algonquian speaking tribes of the Midwest.

coureurs de bois [Fr., n]
A label given to the men of French descent who traveled, lived, and traded with the Native Americans in the early French colonies. Often they traveled and lived beyond the pale of French colonial authority. They were not licensed to conduct trade with the Nations. The phrase translates rather loosely as "wild runner of the forest." They were the social-type predecessors of the Anglo-American 'mountain men."

cultural hero [n]
A person or thing, real or mythological, which is greatly venerated or revered by a body of admirers.

culture [n]
The sum total of skills, beliefs, knowledge, and products, commonly shared by the members of a society, and which are transmitted to their offspring by learning.



dart [n]
The dart is a thin, light weight "spear" intended for throwing. It occurs in the North American archaeological record from the very earliest times. Its function was as either hunting tool or weapon. Often it consisted of three parts: a small and light hafted biface, a short secondary shaft to which the point was attached, and the primary shaft that was two to three times the length of the user's arm. The effective range of the tool was greatly enhanced by the application of an atlatl or spear thrower.

decorative art [n]
Objects of fine art that serve to decorate or adorn.

dialect [n]
A variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by differences in pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. The speakers of a dialect are usually set apart from others geographically or socially. For instance the Miami and Inoca spoke dialects of Algonquian that were different but mutually intelligible.

disarticulated [adj]
Disjointed, as when the bones of a skeleton become separated from one another and are no longer in their natural anatomical position.

drum [n]
For a description of the Inoca drum see water drum. In the modern context a "drum" as encountered at a powwow consists of a musical ensemble of several performers equipped with a padded stick or mallet and sitting in a circle around the relatively large instrument. The drum shell is vertical with the drum head in a horizontal position. Each performer will both sing and strike the drum. There is generally a lead singer.

dugout [n]
A boat made by hollowing out a log. The standard watercraft of the Inoca.



economy [n]
The social institution by which the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services is achieved within a society.

effigy [n]
A representation or image of a person or animal, as in a three-dimensional carving, molding, or sculpture.

egalitarian [adj]
A type of social organization that assumes the equality of all people, in which every individual has an equal opportunity to obtain resources and the esteem of others in leadership activities. Common to band and tribal level societies.

8 [ Fr., script symbol]
French authors sometimes employed the symbol "8" instead of the "w" or "ou" in a spelling of Indian names and words.

engage [Fr., n]
A person employed in the fur trade.

ethnic group [n]
The collection of people that share a common culture. A society.

ethnography [n]
Ethnology is that branch of cultural anthropology that deals with the scientific investigation of living cultures. The primary data collection technique is participant observation, that is, living with the people being investigated with the intention of full immersion in their culture. Such research is called ethnography.

ethnohistory [n]
Descriptions of a past society and its culture. An ethnohistory is typically based on both historical and archaeological information.



feature [n]
A cultural deposit whose removal from the earth would destroy it. Familiar archaeological examples include storage pits, fire basins, house floors, and burials.

flute [n]
A musical instrument consisting of a small, end-blown tube with finger holes (stops). Seemingly, it was the only indigenous musical instrument capable of producing variations in pitch and therefore melody. Panpipes have also been recovered from archaeological sites but only from prehistoric contexts. The flute was common to Midwestern Native American cultures.

foraging [n]
A system of food production based on hunting, fishing, and the gathering of wild plant foods.

Fox (Renard in French) [n]
A tribe of American Indians that speaks an Algonquian language (Sauk-Fox) related to the Kickapoo language. The Fox, who call themselves the Mesquakie or "People of the Red Earth," lived historically in what is today southern Wisconsin, northwestern Illinois, and eastern Iowa. They became allied with the Sauk tribe in the 1730s, but separated from the Sauk in the 1850s. Today the Fox maintain a tribal settlement near Tama, Iowa, and are known as the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa.



garter [n]
A strap of cloth, leather, or hair worn around the leg. Among the Inoca, garters were decorative and did not serve to hold up a stocking.

gorget [n]
A large ornament suspended on a cord and worn around the neck. European officers wore crescent-shaped gorgets as a sign of rank in the 17th and 18th centuries.

granitic [adj]
Composed of granite or granite-like rock; a textural term applied to coarse- and medium-grained, granular igneous rocks. Often used to describe a tempering medium of Native American ceramics.



habitant [Fr., n]
A French immigrant that owned land which he typically farmed.

hafted biface [n]
A compound tool consisting of a bifacially reduced flaked stone artifact designed to be attached to a lever. There is a general correlation between the size and intended function of such devices. Smaller items may be for arrowheads or darts while larger ones are for knives and spears, however there is much overlap. Such articles are commonly refered to as "arrowheads" by artifact collectors.

historical archaeology [n]
Historical archaeology is a branch of archaeology that employs prehistoric archaeology's techniques and methods but that benefits from recorded documentation.

history [n]
The study of the sequence of social events that occurred in the lives and forms of a past group of people. The history will always be from the perspective of its author and his cultural context. It will display biases of person and culture. Historical time is generally thought to only begin with the remembered or recorded past.

horticulture [n]
A subsistence strategy focusing on domesticated plants and a much lesser extent animals. The term rather literally interprets as "hoe culture." The hoe was a technological innovation some 2,000 years ago. Each Inoca woman and her matrilineage had her own garden area outside yet proximate to the village. Horticulture provided more regular food surpluses than foraging, allowed for an increased division of labor, and a more sedentary life way.



ideology [n]
A culturally defined system of beliefs functioning to explain and legitimate the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the members of a society.

Inoca (Illinois in French) [n]
A nation or confederacy of related American Indian tribes (including the Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michigamea, Peoria, and Tamaroa tribes) that spoke an Algonquian language (Miami-Illinois). Literally means "the men" or "the people." Father Louis Hennepin suggests that it translates as "a man of full age in the vigor of his years" ( A New Discovery of a Vast Country in America, Vol. I. Thwaites, ed. 1903. p. 62.).The Inoca (Anglo-American variant, Illini) historically occupied a vast territory in the central Mississippi River valley in the present states of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas. Their population and territory shrank during the 1700s because of warfare and disease. The descendants of the Inoca are represented by the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. Their reservation is located near Miami, Oklahoma.

Ioway [n]
A tribe of American Indians that speaks a Siouan language (Chiwere) also spoken by the Missouri and Oto tribes. The Ioway lived historically in the present state of Iowa and established villages near the Mississippi River in western Illinois during the late 1700s. Some descendants of the Ioway live on a reservation that spans the Kansas-Nebraska border; others live in Oklahoma.



Jesuit [n]
A member of the Roman Catholic religious order the Society of Jesus. It was founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1534. The Jesuits were extremely active in the conversion of many Algonquian societies to Christianity. The first of their missionaries to enter the territory of the Inoca was Father Jacques Marquette in 1673. In1674 he received permission to found a mission to the Inoca. He named it the Mission of Immaculate Conception. It was located at the Grand Village of the Kaskaskia (11LS13). Dying the following year he was replaced by Father Jean-Claude Allouez (1677 - 1692). Jesuit missionaries to the Inoca (Cahokia Mission, Kaskaskia Mission, And Tamaroa Mission) after Allouez included: Sebastian Rale (1692 - 1693), James Gravier (1693 - 1699), Père Gabriel Marest, and Francois Pinet(1699 - 1704).The Jesuits had the approval and support of the French King for the salvation of the souls of the sauvages, intermittently during much of the 17th century, but that evangelical opportunity would be redirected to the Franciscans by 1678. The Native Americans of the region referred to a Jesuit Father as a "Black Robe."



Kaskaskia [n]
A tribe of American Indians that formed part of the Inoca Nation (see Inoca). In the late 1600s, the Kaskaskia tribe occupied the northeastern portion of the Inoca territory in the upper Illinois River valley southwest of Lake Michigan. French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet visited the Grand Village of Kaskaskia (Zimmerman site) on their famous voyage in 1673. The Kaskaskia vacated the Illinois River in 1700 when they moved to the mouth of the Kaskaskia River in southwestern Illinois. They remained in that area until the early 1800s, when they signed treaties ceding their land east of the Mississippi River. Today, their descendants are represented by the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

keelboat [n]
A roughly built, shallow freight boat, formerly used on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, having a keel to permit sailing into the wind. The French referred to them as bateau.

Kickapoo [n]
A tribe of American Indians that speaks an Algonquian language (Kickapoo) related to the Sauk-Fox language. The Kickapoo resided in southern Wisconsin at the time of European contact but moved to central Illinois during the 1700s. Descendants of the Kickapoo maintain tribal headquarters in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico.



lacrosse [n]
A game, originated by American Indians, in which two teams attempt to send a small ball into each other's goal, each player being equipped with a crosse or stick at the end of which is a netted pocket for catching, carrying, or throwing the ball. The Inoca Nation held an inter-tribal tournament prior for departing for the summer buffalo hunt.

league [n]
A unit of distance. A common league was equivalent to 2.76 (English) miles while the marine league equated to 3.45 (English) miles.

lithic [n]
Rock or a tool rendered of stone.

livre [Fr., n]
1. A unit of weight equivalent to approximately 1.1 (English) pounds. 2. The basic unit of French money. Symbolically expressed with the pound sign (#).

longhouse [n]
A communal dwelling of the Iroquois and other American Indian peoples, consisting of a wooden framework up to 30 meters (100 feet) in length and covered with sheets of bark or reed mats. Inoca longhouses are not as long but otherwise similar in design and construction. Based on archaeological excavations at an Inoca village located in northeastern Missouri, longhouses measured up to 17.8 meters (58 feet) long and 7.2 meters (24 feet) wide. The height of the roof is not known, but may have been up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) above the ground.

Louisiana [n]
A French colony in North America (French, Louisiane), claimed at the mouth of the Mississippi River in April 1682 by René-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle, and named in honor of Louis XIV, King of France. The colony had indefinite boundaries consisting of the entire drainage basin of the Mississippi River.



magazine [n]
A building or place for keeping military stores, such as arms, ammunition, explosives, and provisions.

manitou [n]
A supernatural being that is part of and controls a material object, organism, place, or person. The concept was common to the belief systems of Algonquian-speaking American Indians. Among the Inoca, a personal manitou involved linking to the spirit of a bison, bear, wolf, bird, or some other animal. This linkage enabled one to communicate with other spirits to include the supreme deity, "Great Spirit," or "Creator Being", or as it was known to the Inoca, Kitchesmanetoa.

mano [n]
A hand-held stone, often granitic, used with a metate to grind dried corn or other plant foods.

Maroa [n]
One of the ten tribes of the Inoca listed by LaSalle in 1682.

Mascouten [n]
A tribe of American Indians that spoke an Algonquian language (probably Kickapoo). The Mascouten lived in southern Michigan in the early 1600s but had moved to southern Wisconsin by the time of European contact in the 1660s. They lived in eastern Illinois and western Indiana in association with the Kickapoo tribe during the 1700s and were incorporated by the Kickapoo in the early 1800s.

medicine bag [n]
Among the Inoca, a special container used by a shaman to carry medicine or symbols of animal spirits used for treating illness.

metate [n]
A large stone with a broad trough or groove, used with a mano to grind dried corn or other plant foods.

Metis [Fr., n]
The name given by the French to people of "mixed blood." Mixed blood refers to combined French and Native American ancestry.

Miami [n]
A nation, and later a tribe, of American Indians that spoke an Algonquian language (Miami-Illinois). In the 1670s, the Miami formed a nation of six tribes (including the Atchatchakangouen, Kilatika, Mengakonkia, Peikokia, Piankashaw, and Wea tribes) that lived in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The Miami became a tribe in the early 1700s, when several of its constituent groups merged or disappeared and the Miami moved to the upper regions of the Wabash and Maumee River systems in eastern Indiana. Today, the Miami tribe maintains a reservation in Miami, Oklahoma.

Michigamea [n]
A tribe of American Indians that formed part of the Inoca Nation (see Inoca). In the late 1600s, the Michigamea tribe occupied the southern portion of the Inoca territory in northeastern Arkansas. By 1700 they had moved north to the Mississippi River in the American Bottom region of southwestern Illinois. They established a series of villages near a French fort (Fort de Chartes), including one fortified village (Waterman site) that has been excavated by archaeologists. The Michigamea merged with the Kaskaskia tribe during the late 1700s. Today, their descendants are represented by the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

Moingoana [n]
One of the ten tribes of the Inoca listed by LaSalle in 1682.

mound [n]
An elevation formed of earth, sand, or stones that may be natural or artificial. The two great mound building cultures of the Midwest were the Middle Woodland and the Middle Mississippian. The design and function of their constructions varied from each other.



nation (Indian) [n]
A group of related American Indian tribes sharing common cultural traditions and territory.



oral tradition [n]
A statement, belief, legend, or custom that is handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth.



paddle-and-anvil technique [n]
A technique used to form a pottery vessel in which the potter holds a supporting tool, the anvil, on the inside of the vessel while working the exterior with a paddle. Both are commonly rendered of wood.

palisade [n]
A defensive enclosure consisting of a fence of stakes or poles set firmly in the ground. Native American designs and construction techniques extend far back in to pre-history.

panis [Fr., n]
The Inoca name for the Pawnee Tribe. The common regional term for slave.

pay d'en haut [Fr., n]
The Upper Country. The label applied by the French to the area of the Great Lakes. As one moves to the west from Montreal, through the Great Lakes, one is always paddling upstream. One may also be described as traveling "up country."

peace or village chief [n]
The peace or village chief was a position of respect and deference typically held by men but occasionally by Inoca women. The chief, along with the village council (composed primarily of elders but membership quite fluid), managed the domestic affairs of the community. His ability to exercise power was limited to the vehicle of influence. Tribal level organization tends to be quite egalitarian. Among Algonquian speaking peoples members of the Eagle Clan were more likely to assume this position than were people from other clans. The title was in no sense hereditary but was conferred on those individuals whose clan manitou or even personal manitou seemed best suited to achieve the goals of the community. A new village necessitated a new chief. Within a village, occupancy of the position was often situation specific.

pendant [n]
A hanging or suspended ornament, such as an earring or the main piece in a necklace.

Peoria [n]
A tribe of American Indians that formed part of the Inoca Nation (see Inoca). In the late 1600s, the Peoria tribe occupied the northwestern portion of the Inoca territory along tributaries of the Mississippi River in southeastern Iowa and northeastern Missouri. French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet visited a large Peoria village near the mouth of the Des Moines River on their famous voyage of exploration in 1673. The Peoria later moved east to the Illinois River valley and, in 1691, established a village near the present city of Peoria, Illinois. The tribe abandoned the Illinois valley by the 1760s, when they moved south to the Mississippi River in southwestern Illinois and eastern Missouri. The Peoria tribe ceded its lands east of the Mississippi River in a treaty signed with the U.S. government in 1818. Today, their descendants are represented by the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma [n]
The Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma is the modern expression of the people and culture known as the Inoca. Most of the distinct tribal identities associated with the Inoca Confederacy have now disappeared. Other historically visible tribes, depopulated during the18th and 19th centuries, like the Wea and Piankashaw, have joined the tribal registry that they might have representation to the federal government.

Piankashaw [n]
A tribe of American Indians that spoke an Algonquian language (Miami-Illinois). In the 1670s, the Piankashaw were one of the six constituent tribes of the Miami nation living in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The Piankashaw became independent of the Miami in the early 1700s and resided in southeastern Illinois and southern Indiana. In the 1800s, the Piankashaw and Wea tribes merged with remnants of the Inoca Nation to form a group that later became the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

piasa [n]
The name given to a Native American rock painting (pictograph) seen and described in 1673 by Jacques Marquette near present Alton, Illinois, which depicted a creature with antlers, a human-like face, a body covered with scales, and a long tail. The piasa is similar to the water spirit of the Winnebago tribe, the Uktena of the Cherokee tribe, and the Water Cougar of the Seminole tribe, all powerful deities associated with water and the Lower World.

pied [Fr., n]
A French unit of distance equivalent to approximately 12.8 (English) inches.

pinte [Fr., n]
A French unit of volume equivalent to approximately one U.S. quart or .93 liters.

pirogue [Fr., n]
A generally small watercraft of French design that was fabricated of boards, pointed on both ends, and had a flat, keelless bottom. Best employed on calm water.

portage [v,n]
The act (v) or place (n) of carrying canoes and cargo overland from one navigable stream or lake to another.

pot [Fr., n]
A French unit of volume equivalent to two pintes or approximately a half-gallon U.S..

Potawatomi [n]
A tribe of American Indians that spoke an Algonquian language (Potawatomi) related to languages spoken by the Chippewa-Ojibwa and Ottawa tribes. The Potawatomi probably lived in southern Michigan prior to European contact, but had moved to the Door Peninsula of eastern Wisconsin by the 1660s. In the 1700s, they expanded southward into Illinois and Indiana. Today, the Potawatomi maintain tribal headquarters in Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

powwow [n]
A contemporary cultural event usually hosted by an American Indian tribe that features musicians singing and drumming (see Drum) and social dancing by men, women, and children.



quiver [n]
A cylindrical case for holding or carrying arrows or the secondary shafts of darts.



rassade [Fr., n]
The name applied by the French to round or ovate glass trade beads. See "canons."

rattle [n]
The rattle or gourd rattle was a percussion instrument consisting of a dried gourd attached to a wooden handle and filled with small, hard objects. The gourd may have been a cultivar of the Inoca women. The pellets were stones, seeds, ceramic balls, and after European trade contact, glass beads. The Inoca knew this instrument as the chichicoya. One of two percussion instruments recognized for the Inoca with the other being the water drum.

Recollet [Fr., n]
Missionaries of the Catholic order, the Franciscans. Enjoying early favor of the French King for the religious rights to the sauvages, they were intermittently displaced by the Jesuits. Missionaries to the Illinois Country included Louis Hennepin, Robert Cavelier, Joliett de Montigny (1696), and Francois Busion de St. Cosme (1699), The Native Americans of the region referred to a Recollet Friar as a Brown Robe, Grey-Coat, or Barefoot.

roach [n]
A hair style in which a ridge of hair down the center of the scalp is clipped to a uniform length and stands erect. The term is also used in relation to head pieces duplicating this effect. The head pieces employ a variety of materials including fur and feathers.

le Rocher [Fr., n]
Translates as "the Rock." It is the name given by the French to what is today known as Starved Rock in Starved Rock State Park. The monolithic promontory over looking the Illinois River upon which la Salle and Tonti constructed Fort St. Louis. The Grand Village of the Kaskaskia is located on the opposite shore of the River.



sauvage [Fr., n]
The common French term for Native Americans. It implied the notion of wild, untamed, or uncivilized.

Sauk [n]
A tribe of American Indians that speaks an Algonquian language (Sauk-Fox) related to the Kickapoo language. The Sauk probably lived in the Saginaw Valley of Michigan in the early 1600s, but they had moved to the Green Bay region of eastern Wisconsin by the time of European contact in the 1670s. They became allied with the Fox (Mesquakie) tribe in the 1730s and established themselves along the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin, northwestern Illinois, and eastern Iowa prior to their removal to reservation lands west of the Mississippi in the 1830s. The Sauk currently maintain reservations in Oklahoma and Kansas.

scaffold [n]
An elevated wooden platform sometimes used by American Indians as a structure for temporarily holding human remains prior to burial.

semi-sedentary [adj]
The practice of residing at one or two established locations during most of the year, but occupying temporary encampments during part of the year. As horticulturalists, the Inoca displayed this pattern.

shaft wrench [n]
An elongate, perforated tool, often made of bone, used to straighten the shaft of an arrow, dart, or spear.

shaman [n]
A man or a woman who mediates between people and the world of spirit. The person's agency is dependent upon his perceived success. To the extent that many forms of illness was thought by Algonquian speaking peoples to be an expression of spiritual issues, these persons came to be known as "medicine men" in Anglo-American culture.

Shawnee [n]
A tribe of American Indians that speaks an Algonquian language (Shawnee). The Shawnee are commonly associated with land in southern Ohio, where many members of the tribe lived in the late 1700s and where the tribe may have been located prior to European contact. However, during much of the contact period the Shawnee were fragmented into small bands that were widely scattered in the present states of Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Today, the Shawnee maintain three separate tribal headquarters in Oklahoma.

sinew [n]
A tough band of fiborus tissue connecting muscle to bone. A tendon. The Inoca removed sinew from the bodies of bison and deer and used them in a wide number of applications including lacing lacrosse rackets or, once split into strands, as thread for sewing garments.

smudge pit [n]
A small pit containing charred corn cobs. Based on historical observations of American Indian peoples, these pits may have been used for smoking hides or repelling biting insects.

society [n]
A spatially identifiable population, that share a common culture, and who evidence ethnocentric identities and attitudes.

Society of Foreign Missions
The Society of Foreign Missions of Paris was established in 1658-63. The primary goals of the Society were to evangelize and raise up a native clergy. The Society represented the third group of European controlled missionaries to be sent among the Inoca.

stockade [n]
A defensive barrier consisting of strong posts or timbers fixed upright in the ground. The design and construction techniques first emerge in the Midwest ca. 900 AD.

stomp dance [n]
A group dance performed by contemporary American Indians of various tribes. Each dance is led by a dance leader, who sings and dances in a circular pattern, often around an open fire. Others fall in behind the leader to form a revolving spiral of dancers. A familiar example would be the "Veterans Dance" which takes place very early in the modern Midwestern powwow. The Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma (modern Inoca) holds an annual stomp dance.

straw [n]
The stalks or stems of herbaceous, straight-stemmed plants. The term was applied by the French to artifacts employing the stems of such plants as cat tail, bulrush, and big blue stem.

subsistence [n]
Food, water, shelter, clothing and other items necessary for human life.



Tamaroa [n]
A tribe of American Indians that formed part of the Inoca Nation (see Inoca). In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Tamaroa tribe occupied the central portion of the Inoca territory along the Mississippi River in east-central Missouri and in the American Bottom region of southwestern Illinois. The Tamaroa were later absorbed by the Kaskaskia tribe. Today, their descendants are represented by the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

Taponero [n]
One of the tribes of the Inoca listed by LaSalle in 1682.

tatac8mpista [Inoca, n]
A short skirt worn by Inoca women and bardache.

technology [n]
The skills and information required to produce and use and artifact.

temper [n]
In pottery manufacture, temper is a nonplastic material (e.g., crushed granitic rock, limestone, sand, shell, crushed sherd) added to clay to control the expansion and contraction of the vessel fabric during drying and firing.

The Three Sisters [n]
Also referred to as the Northeastern Horticultural Complex, the label identified the three primary plant cultigens of the Native Americans east of the Rocky Mountains. The Three Sisters were maize, beans, and squash. These three plants, like three sisters, grew together and helped each other prosper. The production of these food stuffs was the exclusive domain of Algonquian women. Only she had the knowledge and tools to prepare the garden bed, plant the crops, tend the garden, harvest the plants, process the harvest, store the harvest, prepare food from the harvest, and select and reserve seeds for the following year. The role of Inoca women in the provision of consumptive calories was fundamental to the survival of the people.

tine [n]
The pointed tips on a deer antler.

tinkling cone [n]
A cone-shaped pendant, made of sheet brass or copper, which was worn as an ornament by historic American Indians.

toise [Fr., n]
A French unit of distance equivalent to approximately 6.4 (English) feet or 1.949 meters.

tradition [n]
Customs, legends, or beliefs that are handed down from generation to generation, often by word of mouth or by example.

tribe [n]
A group of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor and a set of shared customs and traditions.



uniface [n]
A flaked stone tool, edge modified on only one side or face. Such tools commonly functioned as scrapers.



vermillion [Fr., n]
French trade item. A fine red pigment that was mixed with a grease base and used as a cosmetic device. Women commonly employed it to rouge their cheeks and to paint the part in their hair. Used by men as a face and body paint.

vision quest [n]
An attempt to see and communicate with a supernatural being in pursuit of transcendent insight. Typically included reliance upon a variety of biological deprivations. Inoca youth would embark on such a journey during adolescence.

voyageur [Fr., n]
Men of French ancestry, often Metis, who labored in the French fur trade. Their life way was inseparable from the canoe.



war bundle [n]
For the Inoca war chief and war party it was a woven container and dried skins of birds. The birds represented the personal manitous of the various individuals in group. The war chief would be responsible for its transport and protection. The bundle was thought to contain much spiritual power.

war chief [n]
The war chiefs were individuals who volunteered themselves as leaders and organizers of inter-tribal conflict. Their tenure was specific to the action. In convincing other men to participate, they encumbered a variety of obligations to the participants and their families. A "Great" war chief would have been an individual who had successfully served in this capacity many times.

water drum [n]
Several 17th century sources observe the use of a water drum by the Inoca. It consisted of a ceramic vessel partially filled with water and with the top covered with a tensioned hide. It was apparently the only drum design employed. The instrument has not been identified archaeologically and little is known of its dimensions. One of two percussion instruments employed by the Inoca with the other being the gourd rattle.

Wea [n]
A tribe of American Indians that spoke an Algonquian language (Miami-Illinois). In the 1670s, the Wea were one of six constituent tribes of the Miami Nation living in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The Wea became independent of the Miami in the early 1700s and resided in eastern Illinois and central Indiana. In the 1800s, the Piankashaw and Wea tribes merged with the remnants of the Inoca Nation to form a group that later became the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) [n]
A tribe of American Indians that speaks a Siouan language (Winnebago) related to the Chiwere language spoken by the Ioway, Missouri, and Oto tribes. In the 1630s, when the Winnebago (known today by their own name for their people, Ho-Chunk) tribe was first contacted by Europeans, the tribe was populous and powerful, and appears to have occupied the Green Bay region of eastern Wisconsin. However, by the 1660s warfare and disease had reduced the tribe to fewer than 600 people. The tribe recouped its losses during the fur-trade era and eventually expanded across southern Wisconsin and into the Rock River valley of northern Illinois. Currently, the Ho-Chunk are divided into two tribes: one headquartered at Black River Falls, Wisconsin, and the second on a reservation in northeastern Nebraska.

wigwam [n]
Wigwams were dome-shaped, had oval floor plans, and probably were occupied by one or two families. Like the longhouses, they had bent-pole frames and were covered with layers of reed mats. Based on archaeological excavations of Inoca sites in Illinois and Missouri, they measured about 7 meters (23 feet) long and 4 meters (13 feet) wide. The highest elevation of the roof may have been about 3 meters (10 feet) above the ground.