The Illinois Confederation, sometimes referred to as the Illiniwek or Illini, were a group of twelve to thirteen Native American tribes in the upper Mississippi River valley of North America. The tribes were the Kaskaskia, the Cahokia, the Peoria, the Tamaroa, Moingwena, Michigamea, Albiui, Amonokoa, Chepoussa, Chinkoa, Coiracoentanon, Espeminkia, Maroa, Matchinkoa, Michibousa, Negawichi, and Tapouara. At the time of European contact in the 17th century, they were believed to number several thousand people. When French explorers first journeyed to the region from Canada in the early 17th century, they found the area inhabited by a vigorous, populous Algonquian-speaking nation. What we know today about the Illinois is based on the historical account Jesuit Relations, written by French Jesuit priests. The missionaries who lived among the various native nations wrote the Relations and sent the reports back to their superiors in France.
Contributions by Bkonrad, Parkwells, and Alanscottwalker.