Indiana Indian Tribes

Indiana archaeology was rather neglected up until 1950, and as such, the advances that may have been made in identification of the early peoples of Indiana are much left to historians imaginations. It would be quite plausible, that had early excavations been conducted then traces of early Siouan groups that included the Kansas, Omahas, Osages, Poncas and Quapaws would have been found. These tribes had a tradition of former residence on the Ohio or Wabash, and it was very probable that they were there in the early Mound Builders times, taking part in that cultural development. In Indiana large Hopewell or Mound Builder centers are rare; but the Indians in southern Indiana built mounds containing burials of the mound builder type. They also built small mounds on high ground in lines, a feature of the Effigy Mound culture, which was unquestionably a Siouan development. 1

The following tribes at one time are recorded in history as having resided within the present state of Indiana. If the tribe name is in bold, then Indiana is the primary location known for this tribe, otherwise we provide the tribes specifics as it pertains to Indiana and then provide a link to the main tribal page.

Chippewa Indians. Representatives of this tribe appear as parties to the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 and treaties made in 1817 and 1821 by which lands in Indiana were relinquished to the Whites. (See Minnesota.)

Delaware Indians. About 1770 the Delaware, most of whom were then living in Ohio, received permission from the Miami and Piankashaw to occupy that part of Indiana between the Ohio and White Rivers, where at one period they had six villages. In course of time, all moved west of the Mississippi to Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. (See New Jersey.)

Erie Indians. Erie tribal territory may once have extended into the northeastern part of the State, but this tribe played but little part in the known history of the region covered by it. (See Ohio.)

Illinois Indians. Representatives of this tribe appear as parties to the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, relinquishing land in Indiana to the Whites. (See Illinois.)

Iroquois Indians. The earlier Indian occupants of Indiana were largely driven out by the Iroquois, particularly by the westernmost of the Iroquois tribes, the Seneca, yet they seem to have had few settlements in the State. (See New York.)

Kickapoo Indians. When the Kickapoo were on Vermilion River, Illinois, they undoubtedly occupied some of western Indiana for brief periods. (See Wisconsin.)

Miami Indians

Mosopelea Indians. Before this tribe left its former territory north of the Ohio, it probably extended into the extreme southeastern part of Indiana. (See Ohio.)

Neutral Indians. The Neutral Nation may have extended slightly into the northeastern portion of this State, though this is uncertain. (See New York.)

Ottawa Indians. Representatives of the Ottawa appear as parties to the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, relinquishing Indiana land to the Whites, and as parties to similar treaties in 1817 and 1821. (See Michigan.)

Potawatomi Indians. The Potawatomi pushed into the northern part of Indiana during the eighteenth century and were in occupancy until they ceded their lands to the United States Government in the first half of the nineteenth century. (See Michigan.)

Seneca Indians, see Iroquois Indians.

Shawnee Indians. There was an ancient Shawnee town in Posey County, Indiana, at the junction of the Wabash and Ohio. At a later period the tribe had settlements along the southern and eastern borders, and the soil of Indiana was the scene of the activities of the Shawnee prophet and his brother Tecumseh until after Gen. Harrison’s victory at Tippecanoe. (See Tennessee.)

Wyandot Indians. Representatives of this tribe appear as parties to the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, relinquishing land in Indiana to the Whites. (See Wisconsin and Ohio.)Citations:

  1. Hyde, George E. Indians of the Woodlands, From Prehistoric Times to 1725. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. 1977. p. 39.[]


Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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